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Guide 

■ t0 

9 Implementation 






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PE 

1128 

A2 

A3 4 

1996 

CURRGDHT 



beria 

EDUCATION 

andards Branch 



19 9 6 




Ex LIBRIS 

UNIVERSITATIS 

ALBERTENSIS 



English 



as a 



Second 



L 



anguage 



Elementary 
Guide to Implementation 



December 1996 



ALBERTA EDUCATION CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION DATA 

Alberta. Alberta Education. Curriculum Standards Branch. 

Elementary English as a second language : guide to implementation. 

ISBN 0-7732-5191-x 

1 . English language - Study and teaching - Alberta - Foreign speakers. 

2. English language - Study and teaching - Alberta. I. Title 



PE1028.A2.A333 1996 



372.6521 



Copies of this document are available for purchase from: 

Learning Resources Distributing Centre 

12360- 142 Street 

Edmonton, Alberta 

T5L4X9 

Telephone: 403-427-5775 

Fax: 403-422-9750 



Questions or concerns regarding this guide can be addressed to the 
Assistant Director, Humanities, Curriculum Standards Branch, Alberta 
Education. Telephone 403-427-2984. Alberta Education offices can be 
reached toll free by dialing 3 10-0000. 

The primary intended audience for this document is: 



Administrators 




Counsellors 




General Audience 




Parents 




Students 




Teachers 


y 



Copyright ©1996, the Crown in Right of Alberta, as represented by the 
Minister of Education. Alberta Education, Curriculum Standards Branch, 
1 1 160 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T5K 0L2. 

Permission is given by the copyright owner to reproduce this document 
for educational purposes and on a nonprofit basis, with the exception of 
materials cited for which Alberta Education does not own copyright. 



UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY OF ALBE RT 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 



Alberta Education acknowledges with appreciation the contribution of the following individuals 
and groups to the development of this document. 



PRINCIPAL DEVELOPER 



Christine Laurell 



Calgary School District No. 19 



ASSISTANT DEVELOPERS 



Jane Wilson 
Sheila McLeod 



Calgary RCSSD No. 1 
Calgary School District No. 19 



FIELD TEST COMMITTEE 



Alice Brick 
Emilie DeCorby 
Troy Hackler 
Marian Hindmarsh 
Pat Hogan 
Donna Hughes 
Felicia Iacchelli 
Roger Ivie 
Paul Melle 
Ellen Meller 
Patricia Michael 
Sharon Mcmbourquette 
Shirley Moskol 
Carey Organ 
Theresa Palser 
Caroline Richards 
Kathy Sanderson 
Marie Settle 
Bea Sidhu 
Marlene Stefura 
Susan Sutherland 
Judith Tucker-Ekelund 
Janet Zuk 



Grande Prairie RCSSD No. 28 

Edmonton RCSSD No. 7 

Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Separate Regional Division No. 4 

Calgary RCSSD No. 1 

Calgary School District No. 19 

Edmonton School District No. 7 

Edmonton RCSSD No. 7 

Lethbridge School District No. 51 

Calgary RCSSD No. 1 

Grande Prairie RCSSD No. 28 

Calgary School District No. 19 

Horizon School Division No. 67 

Edmonton School District No. 7 

St. Albert PSS District No. 6 

Calgary RCSSD No. 1 

Grande Prairie RCSSD No. 28 

Horizon School Division No. 67 

Edmonton RCSSD No. 7 

Edmonton School District No. 7 

Grande Prairie RCSSD No. 28 

Calgary School District No. 19 

Calgary School District No. 19 

Edmonton RCSSD No. 7 



December 1996 



Acknowledgements / Hi 



ALBERTA EDUCATION 



Curriculum Standards Branch 



Christopher Ewanchuk 
Kim Blevins 
Lin Gray 
Dianne Hohnstein 
Esther Yong 



Editor 
Copy Editor 
Desktop Publisher 
Desktop Publisher 
Desktop Publisher 



Developed Under the Direction of: 



Keith Wagner 
Gina Vivone- Vernon 
Dan Clarke 



Acting Director 

Assistant Director, Humanities 

Curriculum Consultant, English as a Second Language 



Special Thanks 



Appreciation is expressed to Lloyd Symyrozum, former Director; 
Merv Thornton, former Assistant Director, Secondary Programs; 
Earl Brieman, former Program Manager, Elementary and 
Secondary Fine Arts and English as a Second Language; all of 
the Curriculum Standards Branch; and Elaine V. Harasymiw, 
former Program Manager, Second Languages; for their roles in 
the direction and development of this document. Appreciation is 
also expressed to Halia Czar, Cecile Comeau and Josee 
Robichaud for their assistance in the production of this 
document. 



iv I Acknowledgements 



December 1996 



FOREWORD 



This document draws from the collective expertise of English as a 
Second Language (ESL) specialists and classroom teachers, and 
from classroom-based research in the fields of first and second 
language acquisition. It has been written to help teachers 
effectively accommodate students with ESL needs in elementary 
classrooms. Its purpose is to: 

• provide teachers with a clear understanding of who the ESL 
student is as well as basic information about second language 
learning 

• reinforce the principle that ESL students learn best in an 
age-appropriate, contextually enriched, integrated situation in 
the elementary classroom 

• support the principle that all teachers are teachers of language 
and that second language learning occurs across all subject areas 

• suggest responses and strategies for the common questions 
posed by elementary teachers about second language learning in 
a culturally, linguistically and academically diverse classroom. 

Complete listings of authorized resources can be found in the 
Learning Resources Distributing Centre (LRDC) Buyers Guide. 

To access the Buyers Guide electronically: 

• use the LRDC, 24-hour, on-line, computer dial-in service at 
http://ednet.edc.gov.ab.ca/lrdc; or through the Alberta Education 
home page. 

To access Alberta Education's Authorized Resources Database: 

• use the Alberta Education home page on the Internet at 
http://ednet.edc.gov.ab.ca under Students & Learning, Learning 
and Teaching Resources. 



December 1996 Foreword / V 



vi December 1996 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii 

FOREWORD v 

ESL EDUCATION 1 

Introduction 1 

Past Practice 1 

Current Practice 2 

Understanding Second Language Learning 2 

First and Second Language Learning Principles .. 3 
Second Language Learning Principles and 

Their Implications for the ESL Student 4 

Factors Influencing Second Language Learning .. 6 

Developing Communicative Competence 7 

Characteristics of Second Language Learning 8 

Other Factors to Consider in Second 

Language Learning 10 

The ESL Student in Transition 12 

Stages of Acculturation 13 

PREPARING FOR THE ESL STUDENT 15 

Reception and Orientation 15 

Helping Newcomers to Know Your School 15 

CREATING A SUPPORTIVE LEARNING 

ENVIRONMENT 17 

Introduction 17 

Welcoming the New Student 17 

Organizing for an Effective Classroom 19 

Structured Cooperative Learning 21 

Benefits of Structured Cooperative Learning 22 

Characteristics of Effective Lessons 23 

STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING 25 

Listening 25 

Factors Affecting Listening Comprehension 26 

Suggestions and Strategies 27 

Checking for Comprehension 28 



December 1996 Table of Contents / vii 



Speaking 29 

Suggestions and Strategies 30 

Reading 35 

Factors Affecting Second Language Reading 35 

Suggestions and Strategies 36 

Writing 46 

Suggestions and Strategies • 48 

Using Paraprofessionals and Volunteers 52 

Organizing and Developing a 

Volunteer Program 53 

Assessing the ESL Student 56 

Purposes of Assessment 56 

Portfolio Assessment 57 

General Language Characteristics of Beginner, 

Intermediate and Advanced ESL Students 58 

INTEGRATING LANGUAGE AND CONTENT 

ACROSS THE CURRICULUM 63 

Introduction 63 

Language and Content Activities Framework 63 

Language Through Content Approach 65 

Knowledge Framework 67 

Key Visuals 71 

TEACHING AND LEARNING IN A CULTURALLY 

DIVERSE CLASSROOM 75 

Becoming a Culturally Sensitive Teacher 75 

Creating an Environment for Intercultural 

Learning and Understanding 77 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 81 

APPENDIX: Organizations and Associations 87 



viii I Table of Contents December 1 996 



ESL EDUCATION 



INTRODUCTION 



Our classrooms look very different these days. As an elementary 
teacher you may find that your classroom is a global village of 
many cultures and languages. Students with English as a Second 
Language (ESL) needs are part of almost every school population 
in Alberta. 

ESL students are children whose home language(s) is not English 
and whose knowledge of English, in the professional opinion of an 
ESL specialist and classroom teacher, is insufficient to permit 
them to function successfully in an English-speaking school or 
society. 

When ESL students have completed a number of years of study 
with ESL support, they may not necessarily have acquired a 
native-like competency in English. They may have acquired a 
fairly high level of oral fluency, but their knowledge and 
understanding of more academic language in the areas of reading 
and writing may still need work. For example, they can usually 
handle narrative reading and writing, but comprehending and 
writing expository text may still be a challenge. Students who 
have ESL needs often require monitoring by all teaching staff to 
ensure that they are continuing to experience success. 



PAST PRACTICE 



When Canadian schools first faced the challenges of educating 
students with ESL needs, special reception, partial withdrawal or 
total withdrawal classes were developed to accommodate them. It 
was believed that once the students had learned English in these 
special classes, they would no longer be at a disadvantage and 
could then be full participants in the life of the regular classroom. 



Subsequent research has questioned this practice, which has not 
proven to be a solution to such a complex issue. Segregated 
classes, which focused only on teaching English, did not consider 
that many of the ESL students differed in their educational and 
literacy backgrounds. They also came from different cultures with 
different approaches to education. Students coming from war-torn 
countries and who had spent time in refugee camps likely had 
gaps in their education, if, in fact, they had ever been to school at 
all. Teaching English as a field of study separate from the school 
curriculum did not always provide for ongoing conceptual 
development and continuity in the content areas, thereby falling 
short of meeting the students' needs. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary)/ 1 



Such a heterogeneous group of students with diverse needs 
understandably produced very uneven patterns of English 
language development and academic achievement. Clearly, a 
segregated ESL program needed to address more than linguistic 
goals. The basic oral fluency ESL students were expected to 
acquire did not prepare them for success in content area subjects 
where academic language demands are high. Research clearly 
indicates that while a basic level of oral fluency may be acquired 
within two years, academic language proficiency may take up to 
eight years to develop before ESL students can be truly on par 
with their peers. 



CURRENT PRACTICE 



When we include ESL students in the classroom right from the 
start, they are free to hear good models of language from their 
native English-speaking peers and can continue developing 
conceptually in all content areas. They learn best in structured, 
cooperative learning settings where learning is student-centred and 
where they work with students from varied ethnic and racial 
backgrounds. 

Successful integration depends on a school's degree of effort and 
ability to ensure that ESL students contribute to the intellectual 
and social life of the school. The school's manner of 
communicating with parents/guardians of ESL students is 
extremely important, to ensure that both parents/guardians and 
their children become full participants in the education process. 

Also crucial to the success of the ESL student is the classroom 
teacher's positive attitude and understanding of the second 
language learning process. Both of these factors affect planning, 
teaching and assessment. 



UNDERSTANDING 
SECOND LANGUAGE 
LEARNING 



Whether ESL students come into classrooms in Kindergarten or 
Grade 6, they already have an established first language for 
communicating — aside from any exceptional cases. Depending on 
age and/or background, English may be the second, third, fourth or 
even fifth language they will learn. 

The term second language refers to a language that is learned after 
the first language is relatively well established. By the age of 5, 
children have control over most of their first language grammar. 
Any language they learn subsequent to this will be filtered through 
their previously learned language(s). In this way, second language 



2 / ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



learning is qualitatively different from the first language learning 
process. Nonetheless, both first and second language learning are 
developmental processes in which the learner is actively testing 
hypotheses about the new system being learned. 



FIRST AND SECOND 
LANGUAGE LEARNING 
PRINCIPLES 



An overview of first language learning principles, from the 
program of studies for Elementary Language Learning (1991), and 
the basic principles of second language learning reveals that the 
underlying principles of these two processes are very similar. 



FIRST LANGUAGE LEARNING 
PRINCIPLES 



SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING 
PRINCEPLES 



Learning and language growth 

are interwoven. 

Meaning is central to language 

learning. 

Language learning builds on 

what learners already know 

about and can do with language. 

Language is learned from 

demonstrations of language in 

use. 

Language learning is enhanced 

through interaction. 

Language is learned in 

supportive environments. 

In and of itself, language can be 

a source of satisfaction and 

delight. 



• Language and concepts are 
developed together. 

• Focus is on meaning versus form. 

• Second language learning builds on 
previous knowledge and experience. 

• Students learn more effectively 
when they use language for a 
purpose. 

• Language is learned through social 
interaction. 

• A supportive environment is key to 
learning a second language. 

• In and of itself, language can be a 
source of satisfaction and delight. 

• Language must be adjusted so the 
student can understand what is being 
communicated. 

• Language skills develop gradually. 



While many of these principles parallel one another, there are 
differences in terms of implications for the ESL student. As the 
elementary classroom teacher is a teacher of language to all 
students, an understanding of the second language learning 
principles and their implications is crucial for informed teaching 
and assessing of the ESL student. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 3 



SECOND LANGUAGE 
LEARNING PRINCIPLES 
AND THEIR 

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE 
ESL STUDENT 



Language and concepts are developed together. 

Second language learning cannot be separated from learning 
experience. Language is best learned in a functional/experiential 
context, not in isolation as an end in itself. 



Second language learning, like first language learning, takes place 
within and across subject areas, as students use language to think 
and learn. 

Children's cognitive development proceeds similarly across 
cultures, so ESL children are ready to explore the same concepts 
that their age group is exploring, barring any clinical- 
developmental delays. 

In language learning, the processes of listening, speaking, reading 
and writing are interrelated and mutually supportive. The mastery 
of one is not necessary before encouraging development of the 
other three. A person's second language, like the first, develops 
holistically, not linearly in a specific sequence of structures and 
vocabulary. 

Focus is on meaning versus form. 

ESL students must be engaged in meaningful learning activities 
with native English-speaking students in which the students talk 
with each other, pose questions and solve problems together. 

ESL students are highly motivated to seek meaning in their 
learning experiences, so they can learn to communicate with 
others to establish relationships. 



Second language learning builds on previous knowledge and 
experience. 

ESL students come to the second language learning process with a 
functional language already in place and previous learning 
experiences to share. 

Successful second language learning is dependent on the continual 
maintenance of first language literacy, which is achieved when 
parents/guardians or friends listen to, read and talk about stories in 
the first language. 



4 1 ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



ESL students develop second language competence at individual 
rates, which are influenced by their first language background, 
their previous literacy and school experiences, and their own 
abilities. 

Students learn more effectively when they use language for a 
purpose. Language is learned through social interaction. 

Becoming communicatively and academically competent involves 
the practical understanding of the turn-taking and rhetorical 
conventions of the English language; such understanding is 
developed through implicit and explicit demonstrations that are 
provided by the interaction of ESL students with teachers and 
peers. 

Second language students are not expected to keep up with a class 
reading group, but they need opportunities to read material at their 
level. Writing activities need to be closely integrated with 
conversation and reading; those aspects of language both inform 
and are informed by the student's writing. 

Experience with a wide range of literature, varied narrative genres 
and content area material, helps the ESL student to use language 
in a variety of contexts. 

A supportive environment is key to learning a second 
language. 

Second language learning takes place most effectively in an 
integrated setting in which ESL students interact with native 
English speakers on a daily basis. 

A structured, cooperative group learning environment, 
characterized by groups working together with mutual trust and 
respect, encourages the second language learner to take risks, to 
explore and to experiment with conversational and academic 
language. 

Independent second language learning is facilitated when second 
language learners are provided with initial support and ongoing 
monitoring of their linguistic, academic, cultural, emotional and 
physical needs. These things provide second language learners 
with the self-confidence they need for the writing and discussion 
of their own ideas and opinions. 



December 1 996 ESL Guide (Elementary) / 5 



In and of itself, language can be a source of satisfaction and 
delight. 

The acknowledgement of first languages, in oral and written 
forms, is important to all ESL students and their classmates. 

Enhancing awareness of the richness and diversity of other 
languages and instilling the value of maintaining a first language 
is beneficial for all students. 

Language must be adjusted so the student can understand 
what is being communicated. 

Second language learners, especially beginners, need language 
presented in conjunction with such things as visuals, objects, 
gestures, body movements or facial expressions, in order to 
facilitate their comprehension of the subject matter. 

Modified teacher talk, or comprehensible input, immediately 
engages ESL students in learning and boosts their self-confidence. 

Language skills develop gradually. 

Like learning a first language, second language learning takes 
time. ESL students do not have five years to learn English as they 
had with their first language. They are older and cognitively more 
mature, and feel tremendous pressure to acquire new vocabulary, 
sentence structure, body language and the subtle complexities of 
the new language and culture as soon as possible. Acquiring 
everyday, Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) may 
take two years in a totally English-speaking environment. 
However, in order to experience success in the content area 
classroom, the learning of Cognitive Academic Language 
Proficiency (CALP) may take from five to seven years. The 
length of time for this process will depend on several factors, not 
the least being the nature of the individual student. 



FACTORS INFLUENCING 
SECOND LANGUAGE 
LEARNING 



Factors influencing the rate of learning a second language are: 

• age and time of entry into the second language learning 
environment 

• personality and learning style 

• attitude and motivation to learn the new language 

• possession of a natural talent or ear for learning languages 

• language abilities in the first language 



6 /ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



the similarity of the first language to the second language 

previous educational background 

previous exposure to and experience in the second language 

and the new culture 

physical and emotional health 

adjustment and supportiveness of the family toward the new 

language and culture 

community interest, resources and parental involvement in 

school programs 

the perceived respect for and acknowledgement of the home 

language and culture by the new community 

maintenance of the student's first language in and out of 

school 

supportive learning environments and skilled teachers who use 

a wide range of appropriately applied strategies. 



DEVELOPING 

COMMUNICATIVE 

COMPETENCE 



Regardless of how and when ESL students learn to become 
proficient English speakers, they must all develop the skills 
required for communicative competence. Students who are 
communicatively competent can speak English grammatically and 
appropriately. They know when to speak and when not to, what to 
talk about with whom, where to talk and in what manner. Such 
competence implies control over grammar, vocabulary 
(conversational and academic), turn-taking skills, timing, 
directness and using one's voice and body language in a culturally 
and socially acceptable way. 



BASIC INTERPERSONAL 
COMMUNICATION 
SKILLS (BICS) AND 
COGNITIVE ACADEMIC 
LANGUAGE PROFICDZNCY 
(CALP) 



Generally, after two years in an integrated Canadian classroom 
where ESL students are learning in a cooperative environment 
with their English-speaking peers, they will develop very 
functional language skills for carrying on everyday, basic 
conversations. These Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills 
(BICS) make them appear to have mastered many aspects of 
English most competently. They are able to discuss, joke and 
socialize with classmates. They can often write independently and 
read narrative stories fairly well. 



However, when expected to deal with more demanding content 
area material, such as reading expository text or writing research 
reports, their BICS will be insufficient to get them through 
comfortably. There is a considerable difference between the 
language required for academic purposes and that required for 
daily conversation. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 7 



Acquiring sound Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency 
(CALP) takes about five to eight years for most second language 
students. In terms of program planning, it is important to realize 
that at least five to eight years are required for ESL students to 
reach their grade level, academically, when instructed entirely in 
English. Children who begin learning English between the ages of 
5 to 7 have had less exposure to their first language and less 
formal schooling, so their rate of acquisition may not be as rapid 
as for the 8- to 1 1 -year-old students. 

These 8- to 11 -year-old students have a strong first language 
background and more developed study skills, so they can learn 
faster and transfer what they know about first language learning to 
their learning of English. Older students can benefit from more 
explicit explanations about how English works, as they are more 
metalinguistically aware. It is in the areas of academic reading, 
writing and discussion that ESL students need direct teaching and 
modelling, as well as a structured, cooperative learning 
environment, in order to compete on par with their peers. 

The more one understands about developing communicative 
competence in a second language, the more one can effectively 
plan for, teach and assess ESL students. Knowing what to expect 
in terms of second language development, alleviates a great deal 
of uncertainty about how well an ESL student may be progressing. 



CHARACTERISTICS 
OF SECOND 
LANGUAGE 
LEARNING 



Regardless of their previous education or language background, 
all second language learners undergo similar processes when 
learning a new language. 



SILENT PERIOD 



When learning a new language, students need to spend a period of 
time listening and internalizing the new system. Some students 
prefer to stay silent for a period of anywhere between one to six 
months before they are ready to speak. During this silent period, it 
is best to refrain from forcing children to talk or read orally until 
they indicate readiness. Other students may begin speaking right 
away, depending on their personality and previous exposure to 
English. 



INTERLANGUAGE 



Not unlike a child learning English as a first language, second 
language learners must experiment with the new structures in 
English and learn from their mistakes. Their English will 



8 /ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



constantly change as they try to approximate native-like 
proficiency. Grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary errors are a 
natural part of the second language learner's unique and 
continually evolving language (interlanguage) and should be 
recognized as a positive step toward the eventual mastery of 
English. 



INTERFERENCE 



Errors that students make in their second language development 
may often be directly attributed to the influence of the structure 
and vocabulary of the first language. It is a natural and often 
useful strategy to use knowledge of the first language system to try 
to work out patterns in the second language, even though it does 
not always work. Interference can occur in pronunciation, 
sentence structure or vocabulary choice; e.g., "I will take a bus." 
when the intended message is: "I will take a bath." [Japanese has 
no /th/, so /s/ is substituted.] "That person is sensible ." when the 
intended message is: "That person is sensitive ." [The French 
word for sensitive is sensible.] Interference occurs more often 
when students try to use more complex second language structures 
to express more abstract feelings and ideas. It shows that the 
student is using the strategy of relying on what is already known 
about constructing structures from the first language. This is a 
natural and positive aspect of second language learning. 



FOSSILIZATION 



Some students, depending on their age, first language background 
and language learning environment, may continue to make errors, 
often the same errors that have been repeatedly corrected, even 
when they become fluent speakers of English. Their errors have 
become so automatic that they have become fossilized. Such 
errors are not likely to change without persistent and constant 
retraining. In some cases, errors may continue indefinitely. This 
is a natural phenomenon of second language development. 



code swrr ching 



Sometimes students may switch from English to their first 
language or vice versa in mid-conversation or mid-sentence. This 
may occur initially in the second language acquisition process or, 
even more so, later on, depending on what the student is trying to 
say, to whom and in what situation. This can be common in 
second language development and should not be interpreted as the 
student confusing the two languages. In fact, code switching 
indicates a child's facility with both languages. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 9 



OTHER FACTORS 
TO CONSIDER IN 
SECOND LANGUAGE 
LEARNING 

ROLE OF THE 
FIRST LANGUAGE 



Current research supports the notion that maintenance of the 
student's first language assists cognitive development and second 
language learning. When students have already developed 
concepts in the first language, it becomes easier for them to map 
this knowledge onto the second language than to learn new 
concepts in addition to a new language. For example, a student 
who already understands the concept of economic disparity will 
have to learn only the English terminology. Conversely, a student 
who is unfamiliar with the concept, first has to decipher the 
unfamiliar academic language and then try to understand the 
concept. Such a complex task often- breaks down along the way 
and results in the student failing to understand. This argument 
supports the need for first language assistance, whenever possible, 
through same language peer tutors, bilingual classroom assistants, 
volunteers, bilingual books and dictionaries. 



While it is true that many second language errors can be attributed 
to the first language, it is not the case that this type of interference 
slows down the student's progress. In the past, students were 
discouraged, or even punished, for using their first language in 
school and were encouraged to use the second language as much 
as possible, including at home. This practice negated the child's 
cultural as well as linguistic background and implied that learning 
could happen only in English. Fortunately, there has been a shift 
in this thinking, and students are now encouraged to use their first 
language. 

Through promotion of first language use, teachers can enhance 
second language learning, by: 

• ensuring that as much first language support is available as 
possible in the form of same language buddies, dual language 
books, bilingual dictionaries 

• promoting a positive attitude toward the language of all 
students in the class, by finding opportunities for a student's 
first language and cultural experiences to be shared rather than 
suppressed in the classroom 

• making the classroom multilingual. Signs and pictures around 
the room should reflect cultural and linguistic diversity 

• encouraging students to write in their own language at the 
beginning stages of learning and later on when they wish to 
write something for which they lack English 

• educating colleagues and administrators as to the role of the 
first language. Try to dispel the notion that minority language 
children fail because they do not speak enough English 



10 /ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



assuring parents/guardians that their children should continue 
to speak the first language at home. Some parents/guardians 
may feel that they best help their children by speaking only 
English at home, even though they are more comfortable and 
fluent in their first language. This may result in providing a 
very limited model of English to the child. Parents/guardians 
should be encouraged to continue to use their first language at 
home, by speaking and sharing their first language literature 
with their children. 



ROLE OF CULTURE 



Impact on Communication 



Learning a second language involves learning a new culture. 
By the time a child is 5 years old, the first culture is already 
deeply rooted. The first culture of ESL students influences 
their way of communicating and learning in the second 
language. Some ESL students may avoid direct eye contact 
when speaking with teachers, because they are responding out 
of respect, based on the teachings of their culture. Many 
Asian students and first nation aboriginal students are not 
comfortable with making direct eye contact. 

Not one gesture or body movement universally communicates 
the same meaning to all cultures. Also, the physical distance 
between speaker and listener, when conversing, is an 
important factor in some cultures. Some students may speak 
very closely to your face while others may back off if they 
think you are too close, or they may shrink back if you touch 
them in a friendly or encouraging way. 

Learning how to interpret body language, facial expressions, 
voice tone and volume in a new language culture takes time on 
the part of the learner and patience and understanding on the 
part of the teacher. In some cultures, people may smile and 
laugh when angry or upset. It may take a while before 
students learn the cultural cues that help them to communicate 
more effectively and appropriately in the nonverbal domain. 

• Impact on Learning Styles 

Like all students, ESL students have differing personalities, 
cognitive abilities and educational and life experiences that 
influence their learning in general and how they approach 
learning a second language. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 11 



Some students take a systematic or analytic approach to 
second language learning. They want to know more about 
how the language works, such as specifics about grammar and 
spelling. These students may experience a longer silent 
period, as they wait to make sure that when they speak they 
will use language that is grammatically correct. 

Others are more global or holistic in their orientation, focusing 
more on the message. These students tend to be outgoing risk- 
takers who try to communicate right from the start. They do 
not mind making mistakes. 



THE ESL STUDENT 
IN TRANSITION 



• Other Learning Impacts 

Class discussion and participation may be foreign concepts to 
some students of other cultures who might consider 
volunteering answers and information a bold and immodest 
practice. Many ESL students can be confused by the 
spontaneous and outspoken behaviours of their peers. They 
have to adjust to new teaching styles and the turn-taking rules 
in the classroom. It may take them some time to shift from 
lecture style to a freer learning environment, from rote- 
memorization of facts to problem solving, from total 
dependence on teachers to self-reliance in finding information. 

Discovery, trial and error, and a question-answer style of 
learning can be strange to students who believe the teacher is 
the sole source of information and who believe the learner 
must accept, not volunteer. Experience-based instruction with 
field trips may not be taken too seriously by students and 
parents/guardians whose views of learning differ from ours. 
Many parents/guardians of ESL children also expect their 
children to do a great deal of homework. Good home-school 
communication is necessary to ensure mutual understanding 
regarding expectations. 

For some ESL students, the adjustment process and the readiness 
to learn will take much longer than for others. Regardless of 
whether ESL students are new to Canada or bom in Canada, they 
experience a myriad of changes that affect the way they learn and 
adapt to their new culture. 

Some of the changes they may experience include: 

• language 

• climate (housing and clothing) 

• traditions and ways of celebrating 



12 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



• socio-economic status 

• social, cultural and personal expectations 

• family relationships and roles 

• food and recreational activities 

• rural and/or urban living conditions 

• expected routines, rules and behaviour at school 

• learning and instructional styles and types of school programs. 

When ESL students experience these changes, they may exhibit a 
variety of behavioural, physical and emotional responses, which 
may sometimes be mystifying and frustrating for classroom 
teachers. In turn, the frustrations of ESL students can affect their 
academic performance and sense of self. Each ESL student's 
transition into the new culture and language is as different as each 
individual's unique life experience. 

It is important to remember that the adjustment process to the new 
culture varies with each child, and it may take weeks, months or 
years before the ESL student feels reasonably comfortable in our 
classrooms and our society. Teachers need to consider the various 
sources of any changes in behaviour, consult with the student and 
the parents/guardians and monitor the student, intervening 
whenever possible or appropriate. Sometimes it may be necessary 
to recommend counselling with a multicultural worker and to 
involve interpreters in parent/guardian-school communication. 
All of these efforts will help to create a climate conducive to 
positive cultural adjustment and learning. 



STAGES OF Anyone who moves to a different area, whether it is within their 

ACCULTURATION® immediate neighbourhood, town, state or province, or country, 

experiences to some degree the same four stages as they become 
adjusted to their new surroundings. There are many names for 
these stages, but the easiest to remember are the four "Hs": 
honeymoon, hostility, humour and home. 

• Honeymoon. This stage takes place when people first arrive. 
It is characterized by extreme happiness, sometimes even by 
euphoria. This is especially prevalent with refugees who have 
finally arrived safely in North America. For them, their new 
home is truly the land of milk and honey. 



J 



® From The-More-Than-Just-Surviving Handbook: ESL for Every Classroom Teacher, © Barbara Law and Mary 
Eckes, 1990. Peguis Publishers Limited, Winnipeg. 1-800-667-9673. 



December 1996 ESL Guide (Elementary) / 13 



• Hostility. After about four to six months, reality sets in. 
These people know a bit about getting around and have begun 
learning the ropes, but this new place is not like their home: 
they can't get the food they are accustomed to; things don't 
look the same; they miss the life of their home country, the 
familiar places and faces and ways of doing things. Gradually 
they begin to feel that they hate North America and want to go 
back to their home country, no matter how bad things were 
there. This stage is often characterized by complaining; 
wanting to be only with others who speak their language; 
rejecting anything associated with the new culture, such as the 
food, the people, even the new language; feeling depressed 
and irritable or even angry; having headaches or feeling tired 
all the time. 

• Humour. Gradually, the newcomers work toward resolution 
of their feelings, and their sense of being torn between the new 
and the old. They begin to accept their new home. They begin 
to find friends, discover that there are good things about where 
they are living, and adjust to their lives by coming to terms 
with both the old and the new ways of living. This is a long 
process, fraught with feelings of great anxiety in some, 
because to many, accepting the new means rejecting the old. 

• Home. Finally, the newcomers become "native" in the sense 
that where they live is their home and they accept that they are 
here to stay. This last stage may be years in coming, and for 
some will never take place. 

Thus, what is happening in students' minds and hearts as a result 
of the drastic changes in their lives has a direct influence on their 
ability to cope with life and succeed in school. 



14 /ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



PREPARING FOR THE ESL STUDENT 



RECEPTION AND 
ORIENTATION 



In Alberta, the procedures to receive ESL students vary from one 
school district to another. For the majority of jurisdictions, the job 
of welcoming, orienting, assessing and placing students becomes 
the collaborative responsibility of many people at the school level. 

Ideally, the reception procedures that should be in place include: 

• the screening and validation of the student's educational and 
legal documentation, such as previous report cards, 
vaccination records, immigration papers. Bilingual personnel 
may be required to provide translation or interpretation 

• the collection of registration information and pertinent 
background information through bilingual personnel 

• the initial assessment and placement of students according to 
their age, appropriate grade and/or abilities in consultation 
with an ESL specialist or a teacher with expertise in this area 

• an organized procedure for the welcoming and orientation of 
students and their families. 



HELPING NEWCOMERS 
TO KNOW YOUR SCHOOL 



Like any new student, an ESL student will arrive at your school 
with mixed feelings of excitement, anxiety and fears of the 
unknown. It is possible that some students from war-torn 
countries have never gone to school. The foreign language and 
strange environment may be overwhelming for them. 

A warm reception and well-planned orientation of ESL students 
and their parents/guardians, in the school, are the most important 
steps to creating a positive learning environment. The initial 
reception and orientation period at the school serves to familiarize 
the students and their parents/guardians with the physical layout of 
the school as well as its policies and procedures. 

Members of the community, multicultural and home liaison 
workers, bilingual students, teachers and members of the Parents' 
Advisory Council may be resource persons to welcome or orient 
any new ESL family. If your school does not have access to any 
multicultural/translation services, try to find people from the 
community or a larger centre who are willing to share their 
language expertise. Names of immigrant aid organizations are 
provided in the Appendix. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 15 



Students and their families should be given basic information 
about the school, which is often in the school handbook. Since 
translations of the school handbook may not be possible, an ESL 
student, who knows the school and can explain some things in the 
new student's first language, is always welcome. In any case, the 
school handbook should contain easily recognizable symbols, 
diagrams, maps and information that will be of use to students and 
parents/guardians. 

The use of welcoming posters in a variety of languages; the use of 
school maps and tours; the assigning of buddies, first language 
and English speaking; and the use of staff and peer support groups 
all help to make students and their families welcome. 

Active involvement of the parents/guardians at the very beginning 
helps to build parental understanding and support for the entire 
educational process later on. 



16 / ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



CREATING A SUPPORTIVE LEARNING 

ENVIRONMENT 



INTRODUCTION 



In order to create a supportive environment for ESL students, 
teachers need to consider both emotional and academic needs. 
While we often think of young children as being highly adaptable, 
ESL students are dealing with many dramatic changes. They must 
adjust to a new culture, a new educational and social system, a 
foreign physical environment and, very likely, a different socio- 
economic status. They may have come with a strong first and 
second language literacy background or may have experienced 
educational gaps, due to war or trauma in their respective 
countries. Many ESL students may have to cope with these issues 
without family support. 

Creating a supportive learning environment starts with a sensitive 
welcome and orientation, and a classroom organized to promote 
second language learning. Such a classroom will consider both 
physical and psychological factors, from different types of desk 
arrangements to different ways for participating in group work. 

An awareness and accommodation of ESL students' language 
levels, through modified presentations of oral and written 
material, is also a crucial ingredient for creating a supportive 
learning environment. 



WELCOMING THE NEW 
STUDENT 



Once you have been informed about an ESL student's arrival in 
your class and the initial assessment has been completed, there are 
a few things you can do to make the first day an easier transition. 
Remember that the student may be frightened and overwhelmed in 
the new environment, where the language and customs are 
foreign. 

• A positive welcome. Smiling is a universal language all 
students understand. Welcome new students in English or in 
their language, if you have happened to learn their word for 
welcome. Try to find out the correct pronunciation of the 
child's name so that the student feels accepted. Make the 
introduction positive. "This is Phong. He speaks Vietnamese." 
as opposed to "Phong doesn't speak English." 

Also, "Welcome" signs in the various languages of ESL 
students should be found in an ESL friendly classroom or 
school. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary)/ 17 



• 



• 



Buddying Pair students to help them learn the daily classroom 
routines. This works best, of course, if the buddy speaks the 
new student's language. The new student will need immediate 
answers to questions, such as: "Where is the washroom?" 
(Please take me there.) "What is the bell for?" (recess, lunch, 
fire alarm?) "Where is everyone going?" (to the gymnasium, to 
music?) "Where can I sit?" "Where are my books?" 

Allow for settling-in time. Remember that ESL students need 
a period of time to watch, listen and absorb the new world 
around them before becoming active participants. Seat ESL 
students at the front of the room, where they can better follow 
your gestures and hear you more clearly. Close proximity also 
allows you to be more aware of what is happening with the 
student. Later, when ESL students become comfortable, it will 
still be important to keep them as close to the action as possible. 

Provide individual attention. New ESL students need a little 
time each day with you, an ESL specialist or resource teacher, 
an aide, an older student or a volunteer. This helps them to feel 
that you are concerned and that they are on track. 

Help develop some language routines. ESL students can start 
to feel more comfortable as soon as they have learned a few 
simple phrases, such as greetings: "My name is ... . How are 
you?" 

- In daily lessons, try to use consistent language patterns and 
cues when you conduct opening routines, such as the current 
date and weather conditions. Initially, always ask a question 
in the same manner. For example, "What is the date 
today?" is much simpler than "Can anyone tell me what 
today's date is?" 

- Label objects in the classroom that are important to daily 
routines. Commonly used expressions in the classroom can 
be written on poster board or chart paper and kept in the 
same place on the wall or board. Examples of such 
expressions might be: "May I sharpen my pencil, please?" 
"May I leave the room, please?" "May I borrow . . . ?" 

- Bilingual dictionaries and dual language books should be 
made available whenever possible. 



18 /ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



Use peer tutors. Select an appropriate tutor for the ESL 
student — an academically strong, helpful student or an older 
student who has expressed interest or leadership qualities. As 
continuity is important, an ESL student should work with no 
more than two different tutors, and tutoring time should be 
scheduled at the same time every week. 

Learn as much as possible about each student's linguistic, 
educational and cultural background. It is important to 
remember that ESL students come to the classroom with varied 
learning rates and styles, personalities, attitudes, expectations, 
needs, motivations, abilities, skills, knowledge, literacy 
backgrounds and life experiences. They are all individuals. 
There is no typical ESL student. An ESL specialist or resource 
teacher can provide additional information regarding a student's 
linguistic and cultural background. 



ORGANIZING FOR 
AN EFFECTIVE 
CLASSROOM 



Whether you have an enrollment of one or fifteen ESL students, 
organizing the classroom to promote maximum opportunity for 
interaction is important for all students. It is especially conducive 
to learning a second language. ESL students learn how to 
communicate successfully through purposeful interaction with 
their peers. This purposeful interaction involves exposure to 
language as communication and involves opportunities to practise 
language in a wide variety of contexts and in all content areas. A 
program that integrates language and content teaching is 
necessary. 



The following suggestions are important components for a rich 
learning environment for all students, with additional benefits for 
ESL students. These suggestions also support the basic principles 
of second language learning. 

• Organize for collaboration and interaction. ESL students 
need purposeful interaction with native English-speaking peers 
in order to learn English. This occurs during pair or group work 
when students work together to solve problems in an 
experiential, hands-on learning situation. When the learning 
environment is one in which there are only teacher-directed 
lessons, ESL students will not be sufficiently involved in an 
active learning process. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary)/ 19 



Plan for student interest. Activities must be planned that 
consider students' interests, learning styles and diverse 
educational and cultural backgrounds. Students are interested 
and motivated when they can bring something they already 
know to new learning experiences. 

Incorporate previous experience and abilities — linguistic, 
social, cultural. ESL children bring diverse linguistic, social 
and cultural experiences to their learning. Teachers need to 
facilitate their students' use of these experiences. For example, 
in a social studies unit on China, Chinese ESL students, who 
still have very little oral proficiency, can demonstrate and teach 
classmates Chinese calligraphy or share photographs and 
artifacts for their contribution to the unit of study. 

Use key ideas across the curriculum. Both language and 
concept development occur simultaneously when teachers use 
integrated learning activities in the classroom. In this way, 
language and concepts are continually being introduced and 
reinforced in a connected way, providing continuity of learning 
for all students as well as the necessary reiteration for ESL 
students. 

Provide for support. ESL students require some structured 
support to help them in coping with the language demands of 
learning in a school context. Just as it is inefficient and 
ill-advised to teach English separately from the school 
curriculum, it is equally inefficient to submerge ESL students in 
a classroom without planned help. The use of teaching 
assistants, aides or volunteers is crucial. Team planning and 
collaboration with an ESL specialist or resource teacher is ideal 
whenever possible. 

Use visual aids to support language and content 
development. Posters and displays of student work will 
reiterate both the language and concepts studied in class, 
providing references for ESL students. Use pictures and 
artifacts that reflect the multicultural nature of the class. 



20 /ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



Offer a variety of meaningful choices. Provide students with 
a variety of forms of collaboration, activities with different 
purposes and topics appealing to diverse student experiences. 
Organize a range of familiar and novel experiences in order to 
use and augment the previous cultural experiences of students. 
ESL students can learn to communicate successfully across a 
wide variety of social settings only if they learn language 
through exposure to and practise of communication in diverse 
settings. 



STRUCTURED 

COOPERATIVE 

LEARNING 



Structured cooperative learning and lessons that incorporate 
predictable routines and structures are integral to organizing for a 
supportive learning environment. While cooperative learning is 
important for second language learning, it can often be an 
uncomfortable or even threatening experience for many ESL 
students. 

Group work can be very isolating for some ESL students, 
especially beginners. They may not be accustomed to expressing 
personal opinions publicly and may not have the complex 
language necessary for negotiating a discussion. 

Structured cooperative learning, in which the teacher carefully 
assigns specific instructional and language tasks, ensures that each 
student must produce and receive language, allowing for equal 
participation and individual accountability. 

The characteristics of a structured, cooperative learning 
environment are: 

• students work together toward a group goal 

• cooperation versus competition is emphasized 

• ideas and materials are shared 

• individual accountability — each member of the group is 
recognized. 

In order for cooperative learning to work optimally for all 
students, certain organizational criteria need to be considered. 

• Groups need to be carefully selected by the teacher so that the 
ESL student has strong language models and feels supported 
emotionally and academically. Working with peers who speak 
the same first language is very important in certain situations, 
but teachers need to take an active role in rotating group 
membership so that clustering of ESL students does not occur 
repeatedly. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 21 



Group work must be very task and role specific so that 
students understand exactly what is required and who is to 
carry out each part of the assigned task. There must be an 
instructional goal and a language assignment. Each ESL 
student needs to be able to contribute to the group in a specific 
way, depending on the level of linguistic development. 
Beginners may need to draw or act out their contribution to the 
group assignment. 

Teacher modelling and coaching of group skills and processes 
are extremely important. Instructions need to be presented 
very carefully, both orally and in writing. Visual and linguistic 
support must be available in the form of pictures, posters, 
charts and reference books, along with a prepared set of 
questions, with language structures and vocabulary, that 
students may need to guide the individual and the group 
learning process. With these specific structures in place, 
individual accountability is facilitated. 

Group tasks should be structured in a way that forces 
interaction and discussion, with consideration of the linguistic 
ability of the individual ESL student. Different alternatives to 
oral participation need to be available. 



BENEFITS OF 
STRUCTURED 
COOPERATIVE 
LEARNING 



While all students' learning is enriched by group work, there are 
benefits specific to ESL learners. 

• They develop positive interdependence, learning a great deal 
from the language models and from the interpersonal and 
group skills of their peer group that allows them to confirm 
their understanding through observation. 



They can demonstrate knowledge of their culture and their 
own areas of expertise. Even beginning students can feel 
secure about contributing to the group at their own level of 
ability, developing self-confidence in a noncompetitive 
situation. 

They profit from the natural redundancy that is created by 
asking and answering questions and by working together to 
solve problems. 



22 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



They hear practical, accurate language, because they are 
working with native English-speaking peers in a 
content/problem-solving situation. 

They can hear and speak English in a natural setting with more 
varied practice opportunities for various communicative 
functions, such as paraphrasing ideas of others, asking for 
explanations, summarizing, clarifying, agreeing, disagreeing 
and interrupting politely. 

They can improve their cognitive academic language 
proficiency (CALP) as language and academic content are 
always presented in context. 

They have the chance to experience success in a setting where 
different strengths and learning styles are accommodated and 
where they can readily gain clarification of concepts from their 
peers. 



CHARACTERISTICS 
OF EFFECTIVE 
LESSONS 



In a supportive language learning environment, research on 
characteristics of lessons that work well for ESL students indicates 
that periods of direct teaching and a recognizable, daily routine are 
very effective. The characteristics are as follows: 

• formal minilessons with a clear objective and recognizable 
beginnings and endings marked by formulaic cues, such as 
"Let's begin with ..." "Let's conclude by ..." or signals, 
"What we are going to do now is . . ." 

• regularly scheduled events marked by changes in location and 
props, such as a scheduled time for activity, a scheduled place 
for activity; e.g., discussion time on the carpet, reading comer, 
science table ' 

• clear lesson formats across groups, from day to day — scripts or 
events. Classroom scripts or events are the segments of 
interaction teachers use to carry out their daily classroom 
agenda. These events are defined by their grouping (who is to 
participate), the tasks (what is to be done and learned), their 
participant structures (how students are to interact), their 
materials, their physical arrangements and their locale. 

Some samples of scripts and events are: 

• clear instructions — lesson phases sequenced and clearly 
marked, written on chart paper, board or transparencies 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 23 



clear and fair turn-allocation procedures for students' / 

participation — lots of turns for each student in small groups, 

peer editing, community of readers 

systematic turn-allocation used at least some of the time 

(when teacher-directed or when in a reciprocal teaching 

situation) 

a variety of response types invited or elicited — students may 

respond through nonverbal means; e.g., art, drama, mime, 

music, movements. 



24 1 ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1 996 



STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING 



LISTENING 



When ESL students first arrive in the classrooms, they undergo 
several stages on a continuum of learning how to listen and how to 
make sense of the "noise" around them. 



• They recognize that the new language takes on a musical 
shape. English intonation patterns, stress and rhythm become 
familiar; e.g., they can distinguish question patterns from 
statements. 

• They begin to chunk waves of sound into comprehensible 
units, understanding phrases or routine expressions, such as: 
"Sit down." "Let's go." They also begin to internalize 
individual, isolated words. 

• They start to hear individual sounds in words and match them 
with those comparable in their first language. 

• They can hold in memory the beginnings of utterances while 
processing endings — especially those internalized in choral 
reading or combined with repeated actions. This helps them to 
understand clauses or sentences that are not routine, such as: 
"My pencil's broken. Can you lend me yours?" 

They may often guess in order to fill in the gaps in 
understanding. Success at guessing correctly will depend on 
background knowledge and nonverbal, visual clues. 

• They can understand conversations and lecture presentations 
and begin to notice the type of register being used by the 
speaker, such as informal-social, formal-social, academic. 

Learning to hear the new language and to gradually acquire a basic 
level of comprehension may take three to six months, depending 
on each individual. 

During this time, some students may not speak much or at all. 
They are undergoing a silent period of listening to and 
internalizing the language and should not be forced to speak until 
they feel ready. An extended silent period may indicate that the 
student is experiencing culture shock or psychological withdrawal, 
or that the student may be shy or frightened. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 25 



Even when ESL students are no longer considered to be beginners, 
listening will continue to be a challenge. 

An ESL student may be able to comprehend in one-on-one 
interactions and converse socially with friends; however, different 
levels of language on topics for which the student has no 
background knowledge will continue to be challenging for the 
ESL student for years to come. Listening comprehension is 
especially difficult in lecture situations and in class discussions in 
content areas. For example, the vocabulary specific to meteorites 
or grizzly bears may be completely unfamiliar to an ESL student. 
For more information on how to present material comprehensibly 
to ESL students in the content classroom, see the section 
Integrating Language and Content Across the Curriculum. 

A student's listening comprehension may also be influenced by 
other factors. 



FACTORS AFFECTING 

LISTENING 

COMPREHENSION 



• The student may be experiencing hunger, headaches, lack of 
sleep or an emotional disturbance. 

• The student may be sitting on the periphery of the group where 
it is harder to see and hear, so feels disconnected; the student 
cannot understand peers who speak quickly or those with 
whom eye contact cannot be made and facial expressions 
cannot be seen. 

• The student may simply be inattentive, daydreaming, 
unmotivated or uninterested. 

• The student may have negative emotional responses toward 
the topic, story or speaker — or cannot interpret voice tone or 
volume. 

• The student may be experiencing conceptual difficulty with 
the material or with the organization of the way it is presented. 

• There may be distractions from the environment that may not 
allow the student to focus in an open-classroom setting; e.g., 
noise or music from other groups, distracting mannerisms of 
the speaker. 

• The student may lack self-confidence, feel inadequate in 
understanding the English spoken by native English speakers 
or experience fear of misunderstanding. 



26 / ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



• The student may use poor strategies, have memory problems 
or have inadequate background knowledge for the topic of 
discussion. 

• The student may be facing language overload, feeling 
overwhelmed by listening to a language that is not completely 
familiar. 

• The teaching level of language may not be comprehensible: 
the speech rate may be too fast, the length of sentences may be 
too long, or there may be no visuals to support presentations or 
discussions. 

It may take time to discern which of these factors may be affecting 
an ESL student's listening comprehension. Each teacher should 
monitor and assess the individual student's needs to determine an 
appropriate course of action to improve the student's listening 
comprehension. 



SUGGESTIONS AND 
STRATEGIES 

Teacher Talk 



For the most part, teachers can facilitate the listening 
comprehension process, by providing modified teacher talk or 
comprehensible input. Comprehensible input is language that is 
just a little beyond the learner's current level of understanding. It 
supports the second language learning principle that language 
must be adjusted, so the student can understand what is being 
communicated. 



As a teacher, you should try to modify the way you speak to 
beginning ESL students but not to the point where you speak 
unnaturally slow or in fragmented English. Speak as naturally as 
possible, but avoid complex structures and idioms. Repeat the 
same sentence patterns when giving instructions or 
questions. 



asking 



Nonverbal 



Paraverbal 



Use gestures and bodily motions, including pantomimes and facial 
expressions, to relay intentions. 

Act out your material: point, mime, role play, demonstrate 
actions. 

Employ different vocalizations, vary volume and intonation, be 
aware of one's manner of delivery with regard to clarity and rate 
of the message, and pause to allow processing time for the 
listener. 

Allow students wait time to hear, understand and formulate 
responses. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) 1 27 



Discourse 



Remember to repeat and recycle new words and structures 
consistently, frequently rephrasing and paraphrasing, and to frame 
or draw attention to new information in a systematic manner. 



Repeat key words frequently and consciously throughout your 
lesson, so students can hear them in different contexts. Repetition 
does not mean asking a child to repeat a word or phrase over and 
over in a drill-like fashion. It means providing the consistent use 
of the word or phrase in a meaningful context: 

"I like the blue house. The house is at the end of the street. My 
friend lives in the house. Do you like the blue house, too?" 



Students may need to hear the same word or phrase in different 
contexts as many as 200 times before the utterance becomes fully 
internalized and ready for them to use spontaneously. 



Frame what you are going to say: 
what I'm going to show you." 



'Look here, now. Let's watch 



Contextual 



Use visual aids, such as pictures, photos, charts, advance 
organizers, webs, maps, teacher sketches and rebus charts to 
support oral presentations; and make use of real objects for all the 
five senses. 



Remember that optimal language input for the student is 
thematically related and relevant to individual needs. The more 
interesting and meaningful the lesson is to the ESL student, the 
more motivated the student will be to listen. 



CHECKING FOR 
COMPREHENSION 



When you have provided ESL students with what you believe to 
be comprehensible input, you need to determine that this input has 
actually become intake. 



When your students nod in apparent understanding, they are trying 
to show you that they are paying attention and doing their best to 
follow along, even if they do not understand everything. Here are 
some questions you can ask to check for comprehension more 
directly. 



28 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



CHECKING FOR COMPREHENSION 



Can the ESL student: 

• DO what is requested? 

• CHOOSE? 

• TRANSFER? 

• ANSWER? 

• CONDENSE? 

• EXTEND? 

• DUPLICATE? 

• MODEL? 

• CONVERSE? 



Respond physically to a command, such as: 
"Take out your pencil, please." 

Select from alternatives, such as pictures, 
objects, texts: "Which one is the blue 
dragon?" 

Draw a picture of what is heard. 

Answer a question directly and correctly. 

Outline or take notes from a lesson. 

Provide an ending to a story heard. 

Rephrase the message, or repeat it 
verbatim. 

Request a book after listening to a modelled 
request: "Could I borrow this book, 
please?" 

Engage in conversation, or interact. 



SPEAKING 



Eventually, students internalize the structure of English through 
daily listening, reading, writing and conversation that is 
comprehensible and meaningful to them. This can take place only 
when students are actively engaged with English-speaking 
classmates and teachers in cooperative learning situations or 
through play in the gymnasium and on the playground. 

Like the development of listening comprehension, the ESL 
student's acquisition of oral language progresses gradually on a 
continuum. During the silent period, a student is most likely 
internally practising ways to say things. Whether or not a student 
begins speaking right away may depend on whether the student is 
shy or a risk-taker, or on previous exposure to English. 

Beginning ESL students need to function immediately in their new 
environment, so they are usually highly motivated to learn to 
speak. They begin with survival phrases, such as: "Hello." "My 
name is . . ." "Where's washroom?" "My turn. " 

They may use these memorized phrases as communication 
starters: "Hi, I'm Zara. What's your name?" They learn these 
expressions as unanalyzed chunks or routines, without any 
understanding that these contain separate words or are organized 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 29 



in an order specific to English sentence structure. Beginners may 
ask memorized questions before they can understand answers or 
comments. 

Eventually, they begin to respond in one-on-one situations with a 
teacher or a peer, using one or two words, gestures, drawings, or 
using their routines. Like a child learning a first language, the 
ESL student's main goal is to communicate a message, not to 
produce an accurate form. "I wanna let's go library" is an 
example of combining two unanalyzed chunks that clearly convey 
the student's wishes but do not follow the rules of English 
grammar. Students soon begin to build on these chunks or 
patterns to create more complex sentence structures. Initially, 
teachers will become aware that students often can understand 
more than they are able to verbalize. 

Because of their strong desire to communicate, ESL students may 
sometimes break into their own language. They may have an 
overwhelming need to express themselves, especially if they are 
excited or frustrated by something. It is also important for them to 
make their peers understand that they already speak a very 
complex language very well, even if they cannot speak English so 
well. 



SUGGESTIONS AND Teachers are anxious to ensure that ESL students feel comfortable 

STRATEGIES t0 participate in one-on-one and group discussions as soon as 

possible. Some ways to ease students into speaking are as 

follows: 

• Assign buddies who are responsible and can help students 
become familiar with the classroom and school routines, such 
as where the washroom, gymnasium and playground are 
located. 

• Involve students in such activities as choral reading, jazz 
chants, readers' theatre, buddy reading, singing, show and tell, 
and participation in puppet plays with small repetitive parts. 

• Encourage reading of labelled pictures and stories from 
personal journals, as scaffolds to lead into more talk. 



• 



Provide wait time when asking a question, remembering that 
responding in a new language requires extra time to formulate 
the answer linguistically and conceptually. 



30 1 ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



Asking the Right 
Questions 



Levels of Questioning 



Providing modified teacher talk; i.e., comprehensible input, 
combined with sensitive feedback strategies, is important. Being 
conscious of how you question ESL students is important to 
helping them respond. 

We question students because we want them to think and 
formulate responses. ESL students may often know an answer 
conceptually but cannot readily understand your question or 
instantly find the words they need for a clear answer. The 
interactive process of questioning and answering can be greatly 
facilitated by asking the right questions. 

The way in which students learning English are questioned can 
determine how they will respond, depending on their particular 
stage of oral language development. 

There are four levels of questioning teachers might consider. 

• Asking YES/NO questions: the student need respond only 
with a "yes" or a "no". "Do you want a new book now?" 

• Asking EITHER/OR questions: the student need respond only 
with one word. "What is Bonnie painting?" Answer: "dog." 
If no answer is forthcoming, provide choices: "a dog or a 
cat?" 

• Asking WHERE/WHAT questions: the student need respond 
only with one word or a phrase. "Where is Yusuke sitting?" 
Answer: "Over there." 

• Asking questions requiring a content vocabulary answer: the 
student can respond in complete sentences. " What is Emma 
reading?" Answer: "She's reading her journal ." 

Asking students the right questions, based on their level of 
language, will help promote risk-taking, self-confidence and pride 
in being able to communicate, thereby enhancing oral language 
development. 

Remember to allow for enough response time. Consider that ESL 
students have to do two things. They have to conceptualize the 
answer to the question and then formulate it into English. This 
complex process requires time. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 31 



Providing Positive 
Corrective Feedback 



Teachers need to be aware of when and how to correct an ESL 
student's spoken English. 

In the initial stages of second language learning, try to correct the 
student only when the meaning is unclear and results in 
communication breakdown. Do this by modelling the appropriate 
utterance in a natural way; for example: 

Student: "I want to sit in this house." (pointing to a spot on the 

floor) 
Teacher: "You want to sit in this place?" 
Student: "Yes, this place." 

You may use the following four strategies to ensure that you are 
providing positive corrective feedback. 

• Use confirmation check and clarification requests. 

S: Yesterday. I come late because I see tooth doctor . 
T: You came late yesterday because you saw the dentist . 

OR 

Yesterday, you went to the dentist so you were late. 

• Use student rephrasings and expansion. 

S: I go tomorrow for doctor. 

T: Oh, you will go to the doctor tomorrow! 

• Give extra chances — pauses, prompts, self-rephrasings, 
requests for more information (probes). 

S: I can no see the ... the .. . 

T: ... the chart board? 

S: No, that thing. 

T: The board? Which one? Show me. (The student gets up 

and points.) 
T: Oh, the poster! You can't see the poster. Can you see it 

now? 
S: Yes. Now I see. 



32 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



Correct by focusing on the message (its meaning and 
intelligibility). 

S: I want know more library (heard as "I want no more 

library"). 
T: You don't want to go to the library? 
S: No. I want. I don't know library? 
T: You want to know more about the library? 
S: Yes. Can you help me? 



Feedback on 
Pronunciation 



The ESL student can be a fluent speaker, but sometimes 
communication breaks down because the student has problems 
mastering the English sound system. 

The amount of difficulty or phonetic interference will depend to a 
large extent on the pronunciation patterns of the child's first 
language. For example, a child who speaks a first language that 
has few final consonants will tend to drop word-final consonants 
in English, resulting in utterances like the following: Jaw an Baw 
wa to da sto. (John and Bob walked to the store.) 



POSSIBLE PHONETIC INTERFERENCES OF FIRST LANGUAGES IN 

LEARNING ENGLISH 



Language 


First Language/English 
Sound Example 


Explanation 


Vietnamese 


k/kl 
s/sh 
-If 
-/th 


cass/class 
sue/shoe 
kni/knife 
ma/math 


- these initial consonant 
clusters do not occur in 
Vietnamese 

- limited number of final 
consonants in Vietnamese 


Mandarin 


s/th 
f/th 


sum/thumb 
baf/bath 


- [th] does not exist in 
Mandarin 


Korean 


b/v 


biolin/violin 


- no labiodental sounds [f/v] 
in Korean 


Japanese 


r/1 


fry/fly 


- [1] does not exist in 
Japanese 


Arabic 


b/p 


baber/paper 


- voiceless stops are voiced 
in Arabic before vowels 


Spanish 


b/v 


balentine/yalentine 


- no labiodental [v] in 
Spanish 


Cree 


s/sh 


sip/ship 


- [sh] does not occur in Cree 


Serbo-Croatian 


t/th 


tink/think 


- [th] does not occur in 
Serbo-Croatian 


Polish 


t/d 


bat/bad 


- consonants are devoiced in 
word-final position 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 33 



Ways to Practise 
Pronunciation 



Flawed pronunciation may cause misunderstanding or even 
laughter and ridicule from peers. Knowing when, how, and if 
pronunciation is to be corrected is an extremely sensitive issue. 
After listening carefully to the ESL student, it is easy to determine 
which sounds require extra practice. 

• Working one-on-one with the ESL student during 
conferencing is a good way to privately work on isolating 
some sounds that are causing difficulty. They can be practised 
within the context of reading words, phrases and sentences in 
both familiar and new texts. 

• Within the context of the classroom, readers' theatre is an 
excellent way for ESL students to practise pronunciation, 
because they are not singled out. The choral reading allows 
for repetition and consistent exposure to English stress and 
intonation patterns that are equally crucial in conveying an 
accurate and natural sounding message. Reading along with 
audiotaped books is another private, unthreatening way to 
practise at home or at school. 

• In structured, cooperative learning situations, ESL students 
converse with their English-speaking peers. It is through this 
kind of interaction that ESL students note when their 
pronunciation causes misunderstanding; and they learn to 
respond to their peers' feedback cues, acquiring the 
self-monitoring skills necessary for working out their specific 
pronunciation problems. 

Many ESL students are unnecessarily referred to speech-language 
pathologists because of problems that are directly attributable to 
the first language interference described earlier. It is important for 
teachers to be aware that it takes students time to actually learn to 
hear new sounds, before they can pronounce them properly and 
use them in conversation and in learning to spell. 

However, if a student stutters or stammers, or has prolonged 
problems with pronouncing certain sounds, it may be necessary to 
find out if these problems are also evident in the student's first 
language. 

Listening to the student speaking in his or her first language with a 
peer; asking the student's parents/guardians; or requesting an 
assessment in the student's first language, whenever possible, are 
ways of finding out whether or not the student requires 
speech-language intervention. 



34 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



READING 



In a literature-based classroom, where textual materials of all 
kinds, from fictional to informational, are used to promote 
language learning, reading provides the foundation for enriched 
language and concept development for all students. 



Like their English-speaking peers, ESL students progress at 
individual rates of development, attaining different levels of 
success along the way. As teachers, you need to be aware of some 
of the important factors that can affect learning to read in a new 
language, because this, in turn, will affect how you plan for ESL 
students and how you assess them. 



FACTORS AFFECTING 
SECOND LANGUAGE 
READING 

First Language Literacy 



You need to consider both the student's age and educational 
background when assessing reading abilities. Some children may 
be too young to have learned to read, may not have been to school 
yet, may have experienced gaps in their schooling or may speak a 
language that has no written system. They may be preliterate (no 
reading skills), semiliterate (some formal reading instruction but 
no mastery of skills) or literate (fluent readers in their first 
language or additional languages). Students who are literate in 
their first language will have transferable skills to bring to the 
second language reading process. Students who are not literate in 
their first language will need to learn a whole new language and 
how to read. 



Parental and Student 
Views on Reading 



Reading serves various purposes in different cultures. Some 
cultures believe that the sole purpose of reading at school is for 
acquiring factual information. Reading for pleasure may not be 
considered serious study and, as such, parents/guardians and 
students may believe it should be done at home and not at school. 



Student's First 
Language Writing 
System 



Does the student's first language employ a different system from 
the alphabet? Does the student read from left to right or in 
columns from top to bottom? 



Background Knowledge 



As reading comprehension depends on one's experiential 
knowledge to bring meaning to the text, it is important to 
remember that ESL students bring different cultural and social 
perspectives to their reading of English. These differences affect 
the meaning they bring to and interpret from the text. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 35 



ESL students are constantly expected to process new information 
regarding the English language and culture and to make 
associations with knowledge we assume they have. However, 
they may not have this knowledge, due to cultural differences. For 
example, the notion of Christmas may differ immensely from one 
culture to another, or it may exist in another form or not at all. 

Particularly for more advanced students, comprehension 
breakdown may be mistakenly attributed to deficient language 
processing skills or poor vocabulary, when in fact, it may be the 
students' inability to relate information from the text to their 
existing background knowledge. 



SUGGESTIONS AND 
STRATEGIES 

Literature-based 
Reading Program 



A literature-based reading program, in which students are actively 
engaged in reading and sharing self-selected books, is a more 
accommodating and enriching environment than is a lock step, 
basal reading program. ESL students will initially require teacher 
guidance in selecting materials appropriate for their level of 
language competence. 

Community of readers, readers' workshop and writers' workshop 
are invaluable ways of organizing maximum student choice about 
what they will read, write and how they will work cooperatively 
with peers. However, there is still room for additional structured 
learning experiences for ESL students, particularly in the area of 
designing tasks that focus specifically on language and on building 
background knowledge. ESL students need literacy scaffolds to 
help them get started. 



Literacy 
Scaffolds 



Scaffolding is a technique by which teachers can elaborate and 
expand upon students' early second language development. By 
modelling language and story patterns through shared reading and 
writing with students, teachers provide cues to ESL students that 
help them to make sense of print. 



Scaffolds make use of language and discourse patterns that 
repeat themselves and that are, therefore, predictable; e.g., 
patterned language stories, poetry, chants and rhymes. 
Scaffolds can also be framed sentences, sample research 
reports and science laboratory write-ups, depending on the 
ESL student's level of language development and grade level. 



36 1 ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



Language Experience 
Approach (LEA) 



• Scaffolds model generative language patterns and stretch each 
student's competence. It is important to remember that 
scaffolds are temporary and that students tend to move on 
quickly to their own original approaches once the scaffolds 
have outlived their purpose. 

• Scaffolds help ESL students better understand the rhetoric of 
the English language and, more specifically, how ideas are 
organized and presented to contribute to the enhanced 
understanding and communication of ideas. Our concept of a 
linear sense of story, with a defined beginning, middle and 
end, differs from the Eastern sense of story, which is more 
circular in nature. 

It should also be kept in mind that English-speaking students have 
internalized the organizational patterns of English from their years 
of reading magazines, newspapers, stories and novels, while ESL 
students have not. The ESL student's first language 
organizational patterns may be very different from those of 
English. 

One scaffolding strategy that capitalizes on the ESL student's 
background knowledge is the language experience approach. LEA 
is a meaningful way to start reading and writing with an ESL 
student of any age. In this approach, students learn to read the 
language they speak. It is one of the most natural ways of 
introducing ESL students to reading and writing, as it incorporates 
the student's language as well as background experience. 
Kindergarten to Grade 2 teachers can use LEA with the whole 
class, but beyond these levels, teachers need to organize time for 
one-on-one or small group instruction of ESL students. 

The language experience approach is based on the following 
ideas: 

• what students think about, they can say 

• what they say can be written or dictated 

• what has been written can be read 

• students can read what others have written. 

Beginning ESL students will not have sufficient language to tell a 
story. They may be ready to share ideas, but they will need 
support in the form of a literacy scaffold. In a one-on-one or small 
group situation, the teacher must, therefore, encourage the student 
to: 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 37 



• 



draw pictures 

• label pictures 

• extend words into phrases and simple sentences. 

The teacher scribes as the student speaks, focusing primarily on 
the message and not the form. Initially, try not to correct 
grammar, vocabulary choice or organization of ideas. If the 
student says, "My mom like Canada food.", write it this way. Do 
not, however, transcribe pronunciation errors. In subsequent 
sessions, students begin to recognize their own errors, and correct 
them independently or with your guidance. Explaining that "he or 
she" (3rd person singular) in English requires an "s" at the end of 
simple present tense verbs (My mom likes Canada food.) can be 
useful to an older student, but confusing and meaningless to a 
younger child, especially if introduced too early. 

When the student appears ready to be corrected, it is important to 
limit the focus of correction to one or more points at each stage of 
the revision process. Generally, verb tenses are corrected first, 
followed by selecting the most appropriate vocabulary, then 
refining the use of articles and prepositions, leaving spelling and 
mechanics to the final stages. 

Using LEA, teachers and students can co-author stories; and with 
this additional support, ESL students can move quickly from 
dictating stories to writing entirely on their own. Reading back 
their own work, in their own words, is rewarding and exciting for 
them. In a group situation, this is particularly exciting, especially 
when the group has composed the story based on a shared 
experience. 

While many elementary teachers currently use a dictated story 
approach, the language experience approach presents guidelines 
that can be followed in order to maximize the second language 
learning opportunities for ESL students. The modelling of the 
process of writing and revising is extremely important. 



• 



The teacher may ask questions to guide the process in the early 
stages. 

The teacher first focuses on the intent of one student's 
message. Ideas are recorded on the board or chart paper as 
they are spoken. If the student says, "Yesterday, we go to 
zoo.", write it this way. Corrections will be made later as a 
group process. 



38 I ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



• As the story is being written, the teacher may choose to make 
some suggestions, such as: "This is an exciting comment, so I 
will put an exclamation mark here." 

• The teacher then reads the story while pointing to phrases on 
the board or chart paper. 

• All the ESL students read the story together: 

- echoically, repeating after the teacher 

- chorally, with the teacher 

- chorally or independently, without the teacher. 

• The teacher asks students for possible changes, carefully 
guiding the revision process. 

• When the story is completely revised, students record it in 
their journals. 

• The group story can be permanently recorded on a language 
experience chart for future reference and enjoyment. 

There are many advantages of using the language experience 
approach with ESL students. Some of these advantages include 
the following. 

• The student can express what has been experienced, can see 
the language in written form, can hear the language read by 
self and others and can read familiar language. 

• What is written is familiar to the student. It is meaningful 
because it is a part of the student's experience and language. 

• Group reading is supportive. 

• The student can observe the relationships between thought and 
oral and written language. 

• The student focuses on chunks of meaning rather than 
processing individual letters and sounds. 



December 1 996 ESL Guide (Elementary) / 39 



Role of Phonics 



The English sound system and its inconsistent phonetic spellings 
can be very confusing to ESL students. It is often difficult for 
them to differentiate sounds in English, especially if those sounds 
do not exist in their first language. For example, Chinese and 
Japanese-speaking children find it difficult to distinguish between 
III and /I/, and Arabic speakers do not distinguish between /p/ and 
/b/. It takes time for them to hear the difference, so that they can 
eventually use sounding out as a strategy in their spelling. This is 
quite a demanding task in the beginning stages of second language 
acquisition. Refer to the phonetic interferences chart provided 
earlier. 



Attention to phonics should first be done orally, using word 
families and repetitive patterns, or rhymes and chants, within the 
context of reading or a lesson. Oral/aural reiteration of the 
English sound system can be a great help in preparing students to 
decode these patterns in reading text and to use this knowledge in 
their spelling and writing. 

Focusing on certain words or patterns in a language experience 
approach story is a good place to start, drawing initially on the 
student's own language and integrating print activities naturally 
into language development. 

Poetry, rhymes, oral story telling, jazz chants, song lyrics, short 
plays and readers' theatre all help to link oral language 
development with a greater facility to use print in reading and 
writing. 



Choosing Materials 



Given what is known about the role of background knowledge in 
the reading process, it is logical that ESL students can better 
understand and remember text that reflects their cultural 
backgrounds. Providing multicultural literature choices in the 
classroom will be an enriching experience for all students and will 
be especially welcoming and helpful to ESL students. 



Sources to draw upon are: 

• folktales, maxims, historical tales, fables and translated stories 
from students' native cultures; e.g., Cinderella; Momotaro, the 
Peach Boy; The Great Big Enormous Turnip 

• books with culturally familiar experiences and character 
settings, or books about the student's country, climate, 
geography, past times, health care, recipes, holidays 



40 /ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



dual language books 

individually developed or group-developed books by students, 
describing life in their native cultures; e.g., My House in 
Libya, with student illustrations and explanations about the 
culture's food, shelter, clothing, recreation, sports and family 
and school life. 



Directed 

Reading-Thinking 
Activity (DRTA) 



Once students have moved beyond reading their own stories and 
moved into choosing their own texts, teachers can help them to 
predict, to improve comprehension and to retain information 
through a scaffolding strategy, such as the Directed Reading- 
Thinking Activity (DRTA). 



In a DRTA, three questions are asked: 

• What do you think this story is about? 

• What do you think will happen next? 

• Why do you think so? 

Teachers show the students the title of the story and ask students 
to make predictions. The teacher moves through the story a few 
sentences at a time, asking the students to make predictions 
throughout. This is valuable for ESL students who have had little 
experience making predictions and inferences, and they can 
incorporate it as a strategy in future reading. In addition, it 
enables the teacher to assess and build the background knowledge 
of the students. 



K-W-L 



This is a particularly effective and exciting strategy for all 
students, as they have the opportunity to state what they think they 
know about a topic, what they want to know about a topic and 
what they have learned after reading. This may be done in a large 
group (teacher directed), in small groups, in pairs or individually. 
Students often remark afterward that they were so surprised at 
how much they actually knew about a topic. This generates great 
interest in finding out more information about a topic; for 
example, finding out more about spiders. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 41 



Know 


Want to Know 


Learned 


eight legs 


Do all spiders bite? 




sometimes poisonous 


How many eggs do they lay? 




scary 


What are their webs made of? 




make webs 


What is the biggest spider? 




eat flies 






many varieties 







Semantic Mapping 



Creating a semantic map or a web as a prereading activity can be 
used to assess the students' prior knowledge, as well as to provide 
the schema (background) and vocabulary necessary for the 
reading. The information gleaned from a brainstorming or 
K-W-L activity can be formed into a semantic map. Small 
groups of students may work on their own maps. Afterward, 
students might classify them into categories. 



spin webs 



eat flies 



sometimes 
poisonous 



warm, dry 



X 



Habitat 



eight legs 




Features 




different sizes 



Descriptions 



I 



tarantula 
daddy-longlegs 
black widow 



Teaching Core 
Vocabulary in Advance 



Students who are familiar with the core vocabulary that is integral 
to the text will have a greater chance of understanding the new 
concepts presented through those words. Students may have 
difficulty with both content words and noncontent words. For 
example, a chapter in a science text may contain content words 
like "mass," "volume" and "density" and noncontent words, such 
as "submerge," "measure" and "weight." Teachers should identify 
these key words prior to the lesson and introduce them for the 
benefit of all class members. No more than 12 new words should 
be introduced in one session. Teachers may approach this in the 
following ways. 



42 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



• Many textbooks highlight the content-specific words in each 
chapter. Teachers should direct students to rely on these clues 
and teach them how to use the glossaries. 

• Scan the chapter for other essential words that you anticipate 
will cause some difficulty. Add these to the list of new 
content-specific words, and give them to any student who may 
have difficulty, preferably the day before the lesson. 

• Ask the students, either individually or in pairs, to define 
difficult words through contextual clues, pictures or 
dictionaries (first or second language). Have them write down 
their explanations or definitions in any way that makes sense 
to them — words, illustrations or translations. 



Using Advance 
Organizers and 
Structured Overviews 



Prereading strategies that introduce new knowledge required for 
reading include advance organizers and structured overviews. 
Advance organizers are a means of organizing the cognitive 
information into a manageable package for the students. This may 
be in the form of an outline, key visuals (a structured overview), 
summary charts, data retrieval charts or a synthesized paragraph 
that reveals what the upcoming reading is about. 



Skimming 



It is essential that students learn the value of skimming material 
quickly. Skimming helps students with ESL needs to overcome 
the difficulty of reading every word slowly and stopping whenever 
they meet unknown words. Teachers can direct students to read 
the first sentence in every paragraph and discuss and predict what 
the passage will be about. Students can begin with skimming each 
paragraph and then the entire selection within a given short period 
of time. Through class discussion, students reconstruct and record 
what they have read. Then they can read more carefully to check 
the accuracy of what was recorded. 



Scanning 



Scanning is a technique that teaches the student to look quickly at 
a large amount of information contained within a whole book or 
chapter and to determine what the material will be about. 

This is done by asking the student to make predictions about the 
contents of the material, based on the title of the book or chapter, 
the table of contents or headings within a chapter, the content of 
the introductory and summary paragraphs, the words or sentences 
in special type (italics, boldface) and the visual aids. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 43 



Both skimming and scanning are techniques that encourage 
students to be independent learners. Once they have embraced 
these strategies, they can be encouraged by teachers to apply them 
to other subject areas. 



Three-level Questioning 



Teachers need to be aware of all the types of questioning they use 
with their students. In order to ensure that students respond to 
meaning at various levels of abstraction and conceptual difficulty, 
teachers need to plan for asking questions at all levels — at the 
literal level, the interpretive level and the applied level. 




Encouraging Word 
Recognition 



• Label items (on bulletin boards, on display tables) and label 
places of activity (reading area, listening centre). 

• Write everyday schedules, calendar information and work 
duties on the board to use as visuals when discussing orally. 

• Use LEA activities to describe events in the classroom — 
record ideas from oral discussions on the board, on chart 
paper, on strips for pocket charts. 

• Post charts of familiar dialogues, stories, poems, chants, songs 
and prose that have been read by the teacher and students and 
that expose students to standard English literacy from which 
structures can be drawn for writing and speaking. 

• Display student-made charts or trifolds with key vocabulary 
from content area subject matter, such as science or social 
studies. 



44/ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



Set up a Key Word comer — idea or word books with proper 
spelling and picture cues, word cards and banks, class-made 
dictionaries that have English words and pictures for 
definitions or that have English words and first language 
definitions or equivalents. 



Developing Reading 
Comprehension 



• Build sufficient background information through discussing 
such things as title, pictures, vocabulary and setting, so that the 
ESL student can begin to understand the material. 

• Try to determine whether or not the student has adequately 
developed receptive and expressive vocabulary to read the 
text. 

• Encourage prediction before and during reading. 

• Teach story structure: setting, problem, action, resolution. 

• Ask different kinds of questions after the initial silent 
reading — questions involving such things as specific details, 
sequence, inference, main idea, drawing conclusions and 
vocabulary. 

• Help students to become more aware of key words in 
questions (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How). 

• Make sure that comprehension is first developed at the literal 
level before advancing to interpretive and applied levels. ' 

• Teach the student to recognize transition words that signal 
such relationships as cause-effect, contrast-comparison and 
sequential happenings. 

• Provide many opportunities for paired reading activities during 
which time the ESL student can benefit from modelling 
English-speaking peers. 

• Assist and encourage students to form strong visual images 
about what they read. 

• Use cloze exercises from time to time to ensure that students 
can use contextual information in order to make sense of the 
text. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 45 



Use informal reading inventories to try to determine what 
strategies the student is using effectively or ineffectively, in 
order to plan for intervention. 



Using Volunteers 
and Aides 



Parent/guardian volunteers can provide valuable one-on-one 
reading experiences with ESL children. Talking with beginning 
readers about wordless picture books helps develop oral language 
and story concepts in English. Students may want to dictate some 
words or phrases about a picture book, which the volunteer or aide 
can scribe, and they can read this back together. Later, the ESL 
student can read this more confidently with a peer. Make sure 
volunteers are reading from books jointly recommended by the 
teacher, ESL specialist or resource teacher, or teacher-librarian. 
Good stories and poems with clear illustrations are best. 



Encouraging Reading 
at Home 



WRITING 



Parents/guardians of ESL children should be encouraged to read 
with their children in their first language at home. Speaking and 
reading the first language at home helps students to retain contact 
with their family and their language group. Developing and 
maintaining a strong foundation in the first language transfers 
positively to conceptual and linguistic development in English. 

Students are also encouraged to read in English at home, with 
audiotaped books borrowed from school or the public library. 
Books can also be read in English to parents/guardians, and the 
ideas and pictures can be discussed in the first language. Teachers 
should help students to select appropriate books to take home and 
share. Also, they should encourage students to bring books to 
school from their first language and literature. 

Reading and writing are inextricable processes, especially for the 
ESL student who feels an urgent need to communicate in the new 
language no matter what the grade level. Learning to read and 
write simultaneously helps the student to learn about our writing 
system and how we organize our ideas for writing. 

Studies on second language writing development in children 
indicate that even children who speak virtually no English can 
read English print in the environment, such as street signs and 
internationally recognized corporate logos. Also, ESL learners 
who are in the early stages of their English language development 
can write English for various purposes. Classroom research has 
shown that students will use whatever resources they have 
available to them at the time to help them with writing. 



46 1 ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



Teaching writing to ESL students should begin immediately, 
rather than waiting for oral fluency. 

Whether ESL students are beginning to write in English in 
Grade 1, Grade 3 or Grade 6, it is important to ascertain if they are 
already literate in their first language. If not, then literacy 
instruction has to begin with the alphabet and developing the 
concept of sound-symbol relationships. Acquiring the alphabet is 
also essential for those students whose first languages employ 
nonalphabetic systems or for those who read and write from right 
to left. Students will have to be taught how to form and use 
Roman letters no matter what their age or grade level. Even some 
older students may need basic instruction in holding a pen or 
pencil or in forming upper and lower case letters. 

Print should be introduced first, because it reinforces the typefaces 
found in books. Script can be introduced later or at the same time 
as print, depending on the individual student. It is important that 
script writing be taught in the upper grades, so that ESL students 
can understand the handwritten work of their peers and their 
teachers. 

Writing can begin when the student has only a limited grasp of the 
oral language. The student can begin by drawing pictures, which 
can be labelled by the teacher, volunteer or peer. 

Labelling then moves on to the writing of simple sentences, which 
may be initiated by the teacher, based on what is believed the 
student is trying to communicate. When students can produce 
their own sentences orally, they initially should be transcribed 
exactly as they were said by the student, using the language 
experience approach. 

In time, as the English becomes more fluent, a sense of story 
develops. Students will ultimately produce their own work 
without any assistance, copying bits from old stories and from 
books and language in their environment until they are confident 
enough to write more independently. 

Older students may not want to draw, but they can write text for 
wordless picture books with the help of an aide, a volunteer, a 
teacher or a peer. They may also want to copy pages from texts 
they have read or understand to some degree. In the beginning 
stages of writing development, the message is more important 
than accurate grammar and spelling. 



December 1 996 ESL Guide (Elementary) 1 47 



How and when to correct students' written errors depends on the 
stage of language development they have reached and the type of 
writing they are doing. 

Initially, all students need to get their intended message down on 
paper without being overly concerned about mechanics. When the 
intended meaning is obscured by garbled grammar and 
incomprehensible spelling, teacher-student conferencing during 
several rewritings is necessary to help the student communicate 
more clearly in developing a product that can be a source of pride. 

With ESL students it is important to limit the focus of error 
correction to one or two points at each stage in the revision 
process. Too much correction will be overwhelming and students 
will not retain explanations. Once the organization and the intent 
of the writing is clear, attention can be given to grammar, 
especially verb tenses, which take a long time to master. Selecting 
the most appropriate vocabulary may be the next priority, 
followed by refining the use of articles and prepositions. Spelling 
errors can be left until the final stages. 

Most of the student's explicit learning about grammar and spelling 
arises from writing-conferencing time. This is also the best time 
to point out the positive aspects of each student's work. 



SUGGESTIONS AND 
STRATEGIES 

Using Invented Spelling 
with ESL Students 



Many ESL students are quite concerned about spelling everything 
correctly right from the start. As with English-speaking students, 
there should be a gradual movement away from invented spellings 
and toward conventional spellings over a period of one or two 
years. ESL students have not had the prolonged exposure to 
English print in the environment as their English-speaking 
classmates have, so they often feel pressured to catch up with 
classmates who have already experienced the early developmental 
stages of spelling. 

Asking a beginning ESL student to sound out as a strategy to find 
the spelling of a word is often very frustrating, because a sound in 
the student's first language may not have a corresponding sound in 
English. This renders it impossible for the child to recognize the 
sound and find the sound-symbol correspondence. It takes time 
for students to learn to hear the difference, so that they can 
eventually use sounding out as a spelling strategy. 



48 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



Nonetheless, ESL students can use invented or temporary spelling 
approximations quite successfully with some initial support from 
the teacher and from their peers. Picture-word dictionaries, word 
banks, labelled classroom objects, rhymes, songs and chants on 
wall charts, and plenty of reading help ESL students develop an 
awareness of how our spelling system works, and does not work, 
and provide them with a jump start to spelling and writing. 

It is best to encourage invented spelling after you have done some 
scribing of students' dictated stories and after you have worked 
with the children during several writing sessions, so that they 
understand the process and trust that you really do accept their 
invented symbols and spelling. 

Students may be encouraged to use a straight line ( — ) or a wiggly 
line ( — ) when there are whole words or parts of words that they 
cannot spell, or at least encouraged to write one letter for a sound 
they can hear. They may also want to write the word in their first 
language or use rebus pictures. If possible, a same language friend 
or parent/guardian can translate their story. 



Teaching Conventional 
Spelling 



Conventional spellings should be provided during editing time. 
Once oral language fluency and comprehension develop, ESL 
students become more confident with spelling, and they may want 
some explicit strategies to help them catch up with their peers. 



Encourage and teach them to: 

• look for patterns: word families; e.g., look, book, took or 

common combinations; e.g., -ough, -ight 
structural patterns; e.g., doubling 
consonants before adding such endings as 
-ed, -ing 

• use resources: dictionaries; thesauri; room resources, such 

as charts, theme words, stories in their 
journals, personal word lists 

• consider context: for example, with such homonyms as 

they're, their, there. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 49 



If you use weekly spelling quizzes in the classroom, spelling 
words can be pulled from: 

• words that students are using in their daily writing 

• content words that are being used in all subject areas in their 
themes, units, topics 

• function and signal words; e.g., unfortunately, because, 
although, however 

• students' personal lists of spelling words, including words that 
are especially difficult for them to hear 

• a teacher-written passage that includes many examples of a 
specific spelling pattern or rule. 



Providing Encouragement 
and Support 



An ESL student's perception of what writing is for, may not 
necessarily concur with ours. In certain cultures, writing in school 
is merely a vehicle for responding to questions or for delivering 
information. Creative writing is not encouraged in cultures where 
the only expert is the teacher. 

Some ESL students may not feel confident enough about the 
creative aspect of writing or the breadth of language they perceive 
the writing to require. Initially, they may need very specific 
guidelines or patterns to follow. Teachers should provide literacy 
scaffolds — models for writing — that provide a format for 
beginning ESL writers to follow. 

Writing initiators include: 

• retelling a story that students have read in class or a story, such 
as a folktale or fable, from their own culture's literature. This, 
in itself, requires a fair amount of creativity and manipulation 
of complex linguistic structures 

• writing sequels to books or chapters, or rewriting conclusions 
differently 

• co-authoring a joint story with another ESL student or a 
willing English-speaking peer(s) 

• writing letters to a friend or relative in the home country, or to 
a pen pal in another class or school who speaks the same 
language 

• using cloze type paragraphs or stories based on a book they 
have already read, so they can fill in some of the familiar 
patterns. 



50 /ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



Using Scaffolds for 
Expository Writing 



Initially, simply copying some portions of expository text from 
topical resource books or encyclopedia articles is a valuable 
scaffolding strategy for ESL students. They need to follow 
models of this kind of text structure, so they learn this specialized 
kind of language and the organizational patterns of presenting 
information in a logical manner. This is a temporary strategy 
only. 



In order to maximize the learning opportunity, try going over their 
copied report with them, asking them to paraphrase orally what 
they have written or learned. For strategies on how to help 
students write in the content area, see the section Integrating 
Language and Content across the Curriculum. 



Encouraging Students 
to Write in Their First 
Language 



Providing ESL students are literate in their first language, 
encouraging them to write in their own language allows them to 
demonstrate some of what they know in a language they can 
control. This demonstration of competence to their peers is very 
important to the development of self-confidence, which may 
positively affect their willingness to risk writing in English. 



If ESL student work can be translated, this promotes their voice 
and validates their first language and culture. Enhancing 
awareness of the richness and diversity of other languages, and 
instilling the value of maintaining first languages, is beneficial to 
all students. . 

It is important to understand, however, that first language writing 
will not automatically lead into second language writing. Students 
may want to write in their first language for a period of time or not 
at all. They may choose to substitute a word here and there when 
stuck for a word in English. They may also drop first language 
writing one day and start writing completely in English. 



Encouraging Students to 
Express Their Opinions 



In Western culture, we view confidence in the ability to express 
our ideas or viewpoints as essential to the development of 
communication skills and critical thinking. In many educational 
systems, a student's opinion is not valued, as it is assumed that 
only the teacher can hold opinions and impart truths. The student 
must remain silent until maturity and wisdom are acquired. ESL 
students quite often feel they do not know enough to be allowed to 
express an opinion. It may take them some time and assurance to 
feel comfortable that their ideas will be accepted. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 51 



Encouraging students to write their opinions in their personal 
response journals is a good place to start. They can share their 
thoughts comfortably with a buddy or in a small group, in 
preparation for volunteering to share in open group discussions or 
authors' circle. They may also require modelling and practice 
using the language of expressing opinions, as this is not as easy as 
it may appear. Teachers may need to provide a list of response 
journal openers, such as: "I liked the part where . . ." "I think that 
. . ." "I still wonder why . . ." Such expressions are also naturally 
modelled when teachers respond to student writing. 



Peer Editing with ESL 
Students 



The degree to which ESL students can participate in peer editing 
depends to a certain extent on their level of language proficiency. 
Beginners are obviously focusing on trying to write anything at all, 
usually with the support of a teacher or peer. Instead of editing, 
they could read a language experience approach story they have 
written with another student, volunteer or teaching assistant, 
thereby receiving valuable input and feedback for future writing 
experiences. 



Intermediate ESL students can benefit from following the 
examples of English-speaking students and learning the group 
process. Peers in the group need to be sensitized to the needs of 
the ESL students, helping them to clarify ideas rather than 
focusing on grammar and spelling. Teacher modelling of how to 
peer edit is crucial here. Initially, students may need practice 
following a prescribed format. Students grow as independent 
learners when they reflect on and evaluate their learning 
experience and when they respond to the writing of their peers by 
pointing out what they like about the content and the language 
used. 



USING 

PARAPROFESSIONALS 
AND VOLUNTEERS 



The assistance of teacher aides, volunteers, parents/guardians and 
other students can often make a significant difference in how 
quickly and efficiently ESL students learn the language. The extra 
time and effort devoted to activities specific to language learning 
can help students in a variety of ways. Some of the benefits that 
can be derived are: 

• students will be involved in more and perhaps a greater variety 
of meaningful language learning activities 

• students will have more English-speaking models to whom 
they can relate 



52 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



students will have the opportunity to establish a warm rapport 
with people who work with them, such as teacher aides, tutors 
and volunteers; relaxed learners learn faster 
students can receive additional assistance with regular 
classroom work that has been adapted to meet their needs. 



ORGANIZING AND 
DEVELOPING A 
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM 



• Determine what needs the program will address. 

• Compile a list of possible duties for the volunteer. 



• Recruit easily and efficiently, by: 

- sending a newsletter home to parents/guardians 

- recruiting students within the school 

- submitting an advertisement in the volunteer section of the 
community newspaper and in the local church bulletins 

- contacting teachers in charge of high school work 
experience programs 

- writing a proposal to the school board for a teacher aide. 
Such a proposal should outline: 

• why the aide is needed 

• the kinds of help that can be given 

• what time commitments are involved. 

• Clearly define the role of the volunteer. 

- Details of the tasks a volunteer may perform should be 
outlined as clearly and positively as possible. A workshop 
may be necessary. 

- Ensure that volunteers do not take on inappropriate tasks, 
such as evaluation or discipline. 

• The following administrative functions must be carried out, 
usually by the principal or one of the administration team, to 
ensure smooth operation of the volunteer program. 

- Briefing the school staff and seeking their support. 

- Familiarizing volunteers with the school procedures they 
are expected to follow. 

- Assisting, in conjunction with ESL specialists or resource 
teachers whenever possible, with the preparation of a list 
of the kinds of volunteer services needed for ESL students. 

- Ensuring working space for volunteers and a place for 
resources. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 53 



- Promoting team spirit among volunteers, students and 
staff. 

- Ensuring that volunteers feel they are contributing 
members of the staff. 

If volunteers are to be used effectively, the teacher's role may 
have to change in several ways. 

- There will be changes in scheduling, responsibilities will 
be shared, and classroom resources will have to be used 
more efficiendy. 

- There should be sensitivity about making the volunteer 
feel an important part of the instructional team. 

t- Additional planning may be required, particularly at the 
beginning stages, in order to outline specific tasks and to 
provide an adequate orientation for the job. Some teachers 
find it useful to present a miniworkshop on tutoring 
techniques and on resources specifically useful to ESL 
students. 

- The teacher needs to be flexible in order to accommodate 
timetable changes and ongoing changes in individual small 
group instruction, and needs to deal with any conflicts that 
may arise. 

- The teacher should provide the volunteer with language 
appropriate resources, such as books and tapes. 

- The teacher should inform the volunteer of current themes 
being taught in the classroom, so the volunteer can 
incorporate them in various activities. 

- Teachers and paraprofessionals need to communicate and 
may wish to use logbooks to keep track of students' 
activities and progress. 

The following are types of activities in which 
paraprofessionals or volunteers could participate, and some 
materials they could use. 

- Field trips: 

• visit other parts of the school during the orientation 
stage 

• visit various locations in the immediate community 

• visit locations that are farther away. 

- Reading: 

• read to students 

• read chorally with beginning students 

• listen to students reading. 



54 1 ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



Individual/small group work: 

• assist students with assignments 

• review work already covered by the teacher. 
Individual/small group work, using audio-visual 
equipment: 

• supervise the use of a tape-recorder or computer 

• assist students with recording of oral stories. 
Vocabulary development, using picture cards: 

• in a small group situation, play a flash card game with 
picture cards. A card is flashed. Children call out the 
name, the colour, the use or the location of the object on 
the card. The first person to respond gets that card. As 
the cards are returned to the deck, students tell 
something about each of the cards they are holding. 
Monitor to ensure that each group member has a turn 

• keep a checklist of new words learned by each ESL 
student 

• specify categories, such as food, clothing and 
transportation. Give several cards to each student; get 
them to place the cards in the correct category, under 
the correct heading. Ask students to name the object 
and the category; e.g., "A banana is a food." 

• use more specific categories as the student's vocabulary 
develops; e.g., foods could be categorized as: "Foods I 
like." "Foods I don't like." "Foods I have never eaten." 

Writing — slide sequence stories and the language 

experience approach: 

make slides from classroom activities, wordless picture 

book stories, field trips or students' artwork 

have students place the slides in sequence and discuss 

them 

ask students to dictate sentences to accompany each 

slide or have them write their own sentences. Always 

read aloud with students what has been written 

use the language experience approach one-on-one or in 

a group. 

Outdoor games: 

teach games commonly played in the community 

have ESL students teach the volunteer or fellow 

students the traditional games of their countries. 

Crafts: 

bake cookies and cakes, carve pumpkins and decorate 

eggs, which students can share, eat, take home, keep 

teach knitting, weaving and clay or wood crafts 

have students record the steps in completing a project, 

with the help of the volunteer or independently 

have the ESL student teach a craft to the volunteer or to 

a fellow student; e.g., origami 

have ESL students make hand puppets to tell personal 

stories or tales and fables from their home countries. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 55 



- Games: 

• adapt the game of "Bingo" to "Lingo" to teach 
vocabulary; e.g., numbers, foods, colours, shapes, 
objects 

• play "Concentration" with vocabulary cards made in 
duplicate. Expand the game by asking students to use a 
sentence about each picture instead of just the name; 
e.g., "The cat is black." 

• use the "Story Train" game with small groups. Five 
chairs are required. The first child is the engineer. The 
volunteer starts a story, "On my way to the zoo I saw a 

." The first student finishes the sentence, and 

the second, third and fourth students add a complete 
sentence. The fifth student repeats the whole story 

• give beginning ESL students pictures of vehicles, foods, 
clothing and have them complete the following 
statements: "In my hand I have a ." 

Or, "Beside my chair I see a ." (pictures 

could be placed beside the chair) 

• use appropriate commercially made games to assist ESL 
students in their language development 

• use the telephone — make cue cards telling the student 
who to call and the reason for the call. The volunteer 
answers the call appropriately. 



ASSESSING THE 
ESL STUDENT 



Assessment is an ongoing process that provides teachers with 
information that will assist them in makin 
regarding a student's progress and potential. 



information that will assist them in making informed decisions 



PURPOSES OF 
ASSESSMENT 



The purposes of assessing are to: 

• determine the most appropriate learning environment, 
placement and type of support for the ESL student 

• provide a profile of the student's aptitudes and future learning 
potential, based on the student's performances, progress and 
growth over a long period of time 

• inform and guide the planning and development of appropriate 
instructional objectives, approaches, strategies and activities to 
address the student's diagnosed needs 

• screen and identify students who have special needs within the 
second language learning situation 

• evaluate the effectiveness of the instructional and learning 
programs designed around the student's needs. 



56 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



PORTFOLIO 
ASSESSMENT 



A teacher's challenge is how best to assess ESL students, so that 
their true abilities and potentials are not compromised in the 
assessment process. 

Assessment builds on the student's strengths and specific 
educational needs, rather than focusing on only weaknesses and 
perceived deficits. It is important for teachers to remember that 
constant focus on the student's weaknesses or inferred deficits, 
seriously undermines the student's self-esteem, risk-taking 
abilities and confidence in his or her own learning abilities. Also, 
all assessment procedures must be considered within the context 
of the ESL student's cultural background and experiences. 

Portfolio assessment is ideal for ESL students because: 

• it is a systematic approach for focusing the information from 
alternative and standardized assessments, in order to make 
specific instructional decisions 

• it shows student growth over time, revealing student interests 
and student strengths in a variety of learning/social situations 

• it helps classroom teachers and ESL specialists or resource 
teachers to make decisions regarding program placement, 
extent of student progress and the specific instructional 
objectives that need to be implemented 

• it is a continuous, collaborative and comprehensive 
assessment, including information from many sources. 

The ongoing collection of information for the ESL student 
portfolio is vital to the consistent monitoring of the student's 
progress. A portfolio assessment may include a record of 
classroom observations, records of conferences, samples of 
student work and norm and criterion referenced tests. 

Classroom teachers, in cooperation with ESL specialists or 
resource teachers, can provide a portfolio assessment that is a 
tangible record of the student's progress in language and content 
areas. Information collected in the portfolio can be used for 
collaborative interpretation by the classroom teacher and the ESL 
specialist or resource teacher and possibly the student, so that 
mutual decisions can be made for future planning. The student 
can see what has been learned and what areas need more work. 

After one year of learning English, the student could provide a 
self-assessment with appropriate questions from the teacher. 
From this information, learning strategies can be identified and 
corresponding changes made in instruction. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 57 



Whenever possible, the formation of a cooperative partnership 
between the classroom teacher and an ESL specialist or resource 
teacher is one of the best ways of monitoring student progress. An 
ESL specialist or resource teacher can provide the consultative 
knowledge and support regarding the best strategies, approaches 
and assessment schemes to use, in order to enhance instruction 
and learning for ESL students in the classroom. 



GENERAL LANGUAGE 
CHARACTERISTICS 
OF BEGINNER, 
INTERMEDIATE AND 
ADVANCED ESL 
STUDENTS 



The following charts provide a brief overview of the general 
language characteristics of English as a Second Language learners 
as they progress from the "survival English" stage to everyday 
conversational fluency and to cognitive academic language 
proficiency. The charts provide characteristics for four different 
areas: Listening and Understanding, Speaking, Reading, and 
Writing. Knowledge of this continuum of language development 
may be helpful for establishing appropriate expectations for ESL 
students' learning, for reviewing portfolios of student work and 
for communicating with others about student achievement and 
growth. The characteristics in the different levels are meant to 
serve only as general guidelines. It is important to keep in mind 
that not all students will progress linearly along this continuum. 



The charts were compiled by Christine Laurell and Hetty 
Roessingh based on their experience with teaching ESL students, 
their extensive knowledge of ESL research and their review of a 
variety of documents, including some from other countries such as 
Australia and New Zealand. 



58 /ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



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ESL Guide (Elementary) / 59 



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60 / ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



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December 1996 



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62 / ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



INTEGRATING LANGUAGE AND CONTENT 

ACROSS THE CURRICULUM 



INTRODUCTION 



For ESL students, especially those entering at the upper 
elementary grades, the challenge is to try to learn content area 
material before they are functionally fluent in English. Content 
instruction must begin before the student appears ready. Research 
indicates that simultaneously learning content and the language 
needed to understand that content is more effective than trying to 
learn language separately, and then trying to learn content. 

The challenge for all teachers with ESL students in their 
classrooms is planning learning experiences in social studies, 
science and mathematics that meet the academic needs of all 
students, without compromising content. 

Even ESL students who have strong basic interpersonal 
communication skills (BICS) continue to be challenged by the 
academic language of the content areas, because they have not yet 
developed the level of cognitive academic language proficiency 
(CALP) that their native English-speaking peers have. Therefore, 
they cannot perform equally well in academically demanding 
activities. 



LANGUAGE AND 
CONTENT 
ACTIVITIES 
FRAMEWORK 



The table, which follows, outlines a classification of language and 
content activities framework for understanding the different 
demands of nonacademic and academic activities. The chart 
illustrates how language becomes increasingly complex depending 
upon how cognitively demanding the activity is and whether it is 
context-embedded (playing games, talking to someone face-to- 
face, watching a demonstration) or context-reduced (talking on the 
telephone, reading directions for a science experiment, taking 
standardized tests). 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary)/ 63 



CLASSIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND CONTENT ACTrVITDES 
WITHIN CUMMINS'S (1982) FRAMEWORK © 





Nonacademic or Cognitively 


Academic and Cognitively 




Undemanding Activities 


Demanding Activities 


i 


I 
Developing survival vocabulary 


III 
Developing academic vocabulary 




Following demonstrated directions 


Understanding academic presentations 
accompanied by visuals, demonstrations of a 
process, etc. 

Participating in hands-on science activities 


T3 


Playing simple games 


Making models, maps, charts, and graphs in 






social studies 




Participating in art, music, physical education, 


Solving math computation problems 


£ 


and some vocational education classes 


Solving math word problems assisted by 


■«-> 




manipulatives and/or illustrations 


X 
+2 


Engaging in face-to-face interactions 


Participating in academic discussions 


c 
o 


Practicing oral language exercises and 


Making brief oral presentations 


U 


communicative language functions 


Using higher level comprehension skills in 

listening to oral texts 
Understanding written texts through discussion, 

illustrations, and visuals 
Writing simple science and social studies reports 

with format provided 




Answering lower level questions 


Answering higher level questions 




n 


IV 




Engaging in predictable telephone conversations 


Understanding academic presentations without 


"Tl 




visuals or demonstrations 


o 




Making formal oral presentations 


3 


Developing initial reading skills: decoding and 


Using higher level reading comprehension skills: 




literal comprehension 


inferential and critical reading 


X 


Reading and writing for personal purposes: 


Reading for information in content subjects 


C 


notes, lists, recipes, etc. 




o 


Reading and writing for operational purposes: 


Writing compositions, essays, and research reports 




directions, forms, licenses, etc. 


in content subjects 
Solving math word problems without illustrations 




Writing answers to lower level questions 


Writing answers to higher level questions 






Taking standardized achievement tests 



® A. U. Chamot and J. M. O'Malley, "The Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach: A Bridge to the 
Mainstream," in TESOL Quarterly, Volume 21 Number 2, June 1987, Figure 2, p. 238. © Teachers of English to 
Speakers of Other Languages, 1996/CANCOPY. 



64 /ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



Activities in the first and second quadrants are typical of 
beginning to intermediate level ESL students. In the third 
quadrant, the content is academically demanding but manageable, 
because the activities are still context-embedded with visual aids 
and hands-on experiences. The fourth quadrant presents the 
greatest challenge to all students, but particularly to ESL students, 
because the activities are both cognitively demanding and context- 
reduced. 

Teachers can help students be successful by providing 
opportunities for them to develop content and language through a 
variety of activities and modalities, before expecting them to 
operate in the fourth quadrant. The challenge is to find ways of 
making cognitively demanding material accessible to both first 
and second language students in all four quadrants. 

The successful integration of ESL students into the content area 
classroom relies on the teacher's willingness to incorporate 
language objectives into content area lessons. 

The key objective of language through content teaching is to help 
students comprehend and express knowledge across a variety of 
topics, tasks and situations. The goal for ESL students is to gain 
academic knowledge and cognitive academic language proficiency 
simultaneously. The goal for teachers is to integrate explicit 
language instruction in their content lessons. 



LANGUAGE THROUGH 
CONTENT APPROACH 



Focus on Content 

The focus of the language through content approach is on 
content, not language. However, language must be the 
instructional objective used for talking about the content. In the 
content classroom, teachers make a conscious effort to include 
language objectives in their plans. 

Recognition of the Role of Background Knowledge 

Students bring varying background knowledge to their studies 
that may enhance or limit their ability to comprehend the 
content. Teachers should ensure that the ESL student's 
background knowledge is built into the unit of study and linked 
with new experience. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary)/ 65 



• Use of Comprehensible Input 

Teachers need to be aware of the language levels of their 
students in order to use strategies that ensure vocabulary and 
content material is accessible and understandable to ESL 
students. Extensive use of visuals helps to link language and 
content by lowering the language barrier. 

• Incorporation of Learning Strategies 

Teaching learning strategies helps students learn conscious 
processes and techniques that facilitate the comprehension, 
acquisition and retention of new skills and concepts. When 
students are taught specific strategies to access content 
materials, they can become independent learners. Learning 
strategies include cognitive and metacognitive strategies. 

• Incorporation of Thinking Skills 

As students study specific content, they have opportunities to 
use numerous thinking skills, such as observing, labelling, 
following directions, making decisions, classifying, explaining, 
predicting and evaluating. ESL students may require explicit 
instruction, modelling and practice using thinking skills, as they 
may be from educational backgrounds where rote learning is 
common. 

• Problem-solving Skills 

Content classes need to emphasize a problem-solving approach 
rather than a solution-oriented approach. Students learn to 
question, analyze and find solutions to problems, rather than 
being told how to fix them. This is particularly important for 
ESL students who may come from cultural backgrounds where 
problem-solving approaches are not emphasized. 

• Reading and Writing to Learn 

Specific skills need to be taught to students so they can read the 
expository texts they encounter in the content classroom. They 
need to be able to use language for academic purposes. 

• Use of a Theoretical Framework 

The use of a theoretical framework ensures that a range of 
thinking skills and requisite language structures are incorporated 
into thematic content lessons for all students. 



66 / ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



KNOWLEDGE 
FRAMEWORK 



There are many approaches to planning for the integration of 
language and content. This section introduces only the basic 
tenets of one such approach. 



A theoretical framework developed by Mohan (1986) provides 
one example of a system that teachers can use for integrating 
language and content. This approach, known as the knowledge 
framework, is currently being implemented by various school 
districts in Canada at elementary, junior high and senior high 
levels. 

The knowledge framework provides a way to help teachers 
organize and present the content of any subject area by structuring 
the information in a way which integrates language and content 
objectives. The underlying premise is that all textual information 
can be broken down into one or more of six major knowledge 
structures: 

• classification 

• description 

• principles 

• sequence 

• evaluation 

• choice. 

All topics across the curriculum and across grade levels can be 
broken down into these knowledge structures. Inherent in each 
structure is a set of thinking skills. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary)/ 67 



THE KNOWLEDGE FRAMEWORK THINKING SKILLS 



Classification 


Principles 


Evaluation 


• classifying 

• categorizing 

• defining 


• explaining 

• predicting 

• interpreting data and 
drawing conclusions 

• developing 
generalizations: cause- 
effect, rules, means-ends, 
reasons 

• hypothesizing 


• evaluating 

• judging 

• criticizing 

• justifying 
preferences and 
personal opinions 

• recommending 


• observing 

• describing 

• naming 

• comparing 

• contrasting 


• relating: time between 
events 

• sequencing: spatially, 
steps in process 


• forming personal 
opinions 

• making decisions 


Description 


Sequence 


Choice 



Once the knowledge structure of a piece of text is determined, one 
can cover an entire range of thinking skills from describing and 
classifying to hypothesizing and evaluating. This ensures that 
students develop the requisite critical thinking skills outlined in 
most curricula. 



I 
I 



The six knowledge structures and their accompanying thinking 
skills also help to determine the linguistic structures necessary to 
speak or write about a given topic. 



68 I ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



I 



LINGUISTIC STRUCTURES FOR EACH KNOWLEDGE STRUCTURE © 



Classification 


Principles 


Evaluation 


verbs of class membership: 
to be 

verbs of possession: 
to have 

possessives: 
his, her, your, their, my 

generic nouns: 
fruit, animals, music 

specific nouns: 
apples, bear, jazz 

nouns of measure: 
kilogram, litre 


cause: 

is due to, is the result of 

condition and contrast: 
if . . . then, unless 

generalization: 

in short, for example 

words of general or 

inclusive meaning: 

everything, most 

scale of amount: 
all, none, every 

predicting: 

must, ought to, should 

stating probability: 
is likely, maybe 


describing emotions: 
is satisfactory/ 
unsatisfactory, 
like/dislike 

stating preference: 
prefer, would rather 

stating standards: 
is good/bad, 
right/wrong 

stating viewpoint: 
That is the forestry 
company's opinion. 


Noun phrase + be + 

noun phrase/adjective 
Prepositional phrases 
Relative clauses 
Adjectives 
Demonstratives 
Articles 

Possessive pronouns 
Adverbs of comparison 


Prepositions and 

prepositional phrases of 

time, cause and purpose 
Clauses of time, condition 

and reason 
Sentence time relators: 

first, next, earlier, later 
Tenses: 

reported speech, 

imperatives 


Modals: 

can, will, may, must, 
ought, should, would 

In my opinion . . . 

I think that . . . 

I choose . . . 


Description 


Sequence 


Choice 



In the knowledge framework planning chart that follows, a topic 
of study "All About Spiders" illustrates how the knowledge 
structures, thinking skills and linguistic structures are connected. 

For example, if the basic structure of the text is chronological, the 
related knowledge structure will be sequence. Students need to be 
able to understand and control the language of sequence — how to 
express the time relations between events and describe the steps in 
a process. The example of sequence in the chart is the "life cycle 
of the spider." When such a process is described in a textbook, it 
is often inaccessible to the ESL student, who needs more context 
and visual cues to decipher the content-specific vocabulary and 
the often complex sentence constructions of academic prose. 



© These language items are suggestive of the kind of language that may emerge. They are not intended to be 
exclusive or exhaustive. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 69 



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7i9 / ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



KEY VISUALS 



Key visuals provide an alternative, as they provide a visual link 
between language and content. Key visuals are graphic ways to 
organize information and to lower the language demands of the 
text. They can be paired with patterns of organization — the 
knowledge structures — found in expository text. 



The following chart demonstrates how each knowledge structure 
lends itself to certain types of key visuals. 



KEY VISUALS FOR KNOWLEDGE STRUCTURES 



Classification 


Principles 


Evaluation 


webs 


diagrams 


rating charts 


trees 


graphs 


grids 


tables 


tables 


mark books 


graphs 


cycles 




databases 






tables 


tables with numbered steps 


decision trees 


diagrams 


flow charts 


flow charts 


pictures 


cycles 




plans/drawings 


timelines 




maps 


action strips 




Description 


Sequence 


Choice 



Key visuals come in many forms already familiar to teachers, such 
as semantic maps, concept webs, flow charts and timelines. Key 
visuals are different in the way they are used to explicitly develop 
ideas and the underlying relationships among those ideas. ( They 
can represent the actual structure of the concept. 

The following table presents appropriate key visuals for the 
knowledge structures addressed in the All About Spiders unit. 
Note the Sequence structure box. The flow chart of the spider's 
life cycle visually represents a cycle. This visual representation 
will be more easily understood than reading a paragraph about the 
sequence of events. 

The key visual helps the student to understand the concept and 
reduces the load on the short term memory, while linking the 
language and the content at the same time. Having the concept 
held constant visually, the student can focus more on language 
development, specifically cognitive academic language 
proficiency. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary)/ 71 



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72 / ESL Guide (Elementary) 



December 1996 



Developing and Using The teacher's job is to determine and develop the best key visual 

Key Visuals to represent the text. Then, there should be class discussion to 

prepare the students for reading the text. During the presentation 
of the key visual, the teacher and students engage in a discussion 
in which students learn the essential vocabulary in a meaningful 
context and the language structures needed to discuss the 
concepts. 

The teacher may write student descriptions directly on or beside 
the key visual, on the board or a chart, highlighting the signal 
words and providing a scaffold for future reading and writing. For 
example, the signal words are underscored in the following: 

" First , the male dances to attract the female spider. 

After the female's eggs have been fertilized, the male dies. 

Then , the female lays eggs ..." 

The students are now ready for the reading of the expository text, 
and they can use the key visual for help. All key visuals 
developed during the course of a topic of study should be posted 
in the classroom, so that the concepts and the language structures 
are always there as a reference for discussion and writing 
assignments. 

The following is a six-step procedure for developing key visuals. 

DEVELOPING A KEY VISUAL 

1. Survey the text to get the gist of the content and the author's 
conceptual structure in order to identify the sections into 
which the text might naturally be divided. A section may be a 
single paragraph or include several paragraphs or even the 
whole chapter. 

2. Read the first section and identify the key ideas students 
should grasp by the end of the lesson. Then identify the 
content vocabulary and discourse structures that will be critical 
for the students' understanding. 



O 



Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. All rights reserved. Mary Ashworth, The First Step on the 
Longer Path: Becoming an ESL Teacher. Copyright © 1992 by Pippin Publishing Corporation, 481 University 
Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2E9. 



December 1 996 ESL Guide (Elementary) / 73 



3. Look again at the key ideas and identify and label the 
categories of thinking skills inherent in those ideas. You 
might find it helpful to use the discourse structures (e.g., 
"if . . ., then" for cause and effect, "first," "second," etc. for 
sequence) to assist you in this process. 

4. Look through the section and pick out aids, such as tables, 
diagrams or charts, and evaluate them to determine if they are 
suitable for transforming into key visuals. 

5. Work through these steps for each section of the text. 

6. When each section of the text has been surveyed and 
appropriate key visuals developed, incorporate them into a 
composite key visual. When incorporating the individual key 
visuals into a cohesive, comprehensive whole, some 
adjustments may be necessary. 



74 I ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1 996 



TEACHING AND LEARNING IN A 
CULTURALLY DIVERSE CLASSROOM 



BECOMING A 
CULTURALLY 
SENSITIVE 
TEACHER 



In order to create an effective and harmonious learning experience 
for all children, all teachers need to become culturally sensitive. 
This does not mean teachers need to become experts on world 
cultures. Rather, they need to seek out resources in order to gain 
knowledge and understanding of cultures, so that they are able to 
share their interest and information with all students to help them 
become culturally thoughtful. As a culturally sensitive teacher, 
you can better prepare yourself and your students to appreciate and 
work productively in culturally diverse situations. 

• Use community resources to inform yourself and others. 

Begin by finding out as much as possible about the cultures 
represented in your classroom and community. 
Parents/guardians, ESL specialists or resource teachers or 
consultants, interpreters, multicultural liaison workers, ethnic 
associations and the public library are all excellent resources. 
Bring in speakers of varied languages who can share ideas and 
values from other cultures to broaden student perspectives. The 
more information you can find out about your ESL students' 
previous educational backgrounds, the more you will be able to 
understand their needs and learning styles, which may differ 
from those in our system. See the Bibliography at the end of 
this document. 

• Find out as much as you can about different cultural 
behaviours and attitudes. 

Traditionally, in our schools, we have focused on culture 
through the sharing of ethnic foods, costumes, festivals, special 
holidays and highlighting the exotic. While this approach may 
introduce our students to different and interesting aspects of 
other cultures, it does not necessarily prepare them for the daily 
reality of interacting multiculturally in cooperative learning 
groups and on the playground. This means accepting that not 
every child's lunch box will look the same, that clothing may 
differ — especially in relation to headdress — or that some 
children may carry kirpans or wear other religious symbols. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 75 



Cultural behaviours and attitudes toward group interaction and 
play may differ, as might the acceptability of certain forms of 
physical contact between the sexes. The following section 
indicates some aspects of different cultural expectations and 
behaviours of which you need to be aware. 

Depending on the ESL student's culture, you may or may not 
observe some of the following behaviours: 

- individuals of the same sex may walk holding hands or 
with their arms around each other 

- students may avoid eye contact with teachers as an 
indication of respect 

- students may not volunteer answers to questions or 
participate in discussions unless invited to do so by the 
teacher 

- students may giggle or smile inappropriately when asked a 
question 

- students may say that they understand, even when they do 
not — they would consider it an insult to the teacher to 
admit that they do not understand 

- adults may interpret parent/guardian-teacher conferences 
as an indication that the child has done something to 
disgrace the family 

- adults may have difficulty understanding public or parental 
involvement in education — the teacher is viewed as the 
expert. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to tell 
teachers what they should do 

- many students and their parents/guardians may be used to 
learning through lectures and memorization, so group 
projects, library research and independent projects may 
require careful explanation and justification to students 
and parents/guardians 

- team teaching or open classrooms may seem disorganized 
to some students 

- in some cultures, sharing problems outside the family can 
be seen as a sign of weakness, so the idea of counselling 
may not be acceptable — the family may be more receptive 
if the counsellor is perceived as another kind of teacher. 



76 / ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



Remember that the cultural behaviours and attitudes mentioned 
may represent only a small portion of cultures in your ESL student 
population. While it is important to have as much knowledge as 
possible about cultural differences, it is crucial not to over- 
generalize this information. Just as all Canadians are not alike, 
remember that within each culture there are individuals with 
diverse family backgrounds, religious practices, values and 
lifestyles. You may need to rely on community resources to gain 
greater understanding of the specific cultures in your classroom. 
See the list of organizations in the Appendix. 



CREATING AN 

ENVIRONMENT 

FOR 

INTERCULTURAL 

LEARNING AND 

UNDERSTANDING 



Whether there is one ESL student or twenty in the classroom, a 
physical environment that reflects respect and appreciation for 
different cultures is essential for multicultural learning. Teachers 
and students can work together to ensure that the physical setting 
is a familiar place for the children and their parents/guardians, 
reflecting them and their backgrounds as much as possible. In a 
multicultural classroom, the message will be clear that individual 
cultures of ESL students are as valued and important as the 
Canadian culture in which students are immersed. Such a 
message is vital to the reinforcement of self-esteem and a positive 
self-concept and can be accomplished in a number of ways. 



Ensure that the classroom is, visually, culturally inclusive. 
Displays around the room should represent various 
backgrounds, cultures, religions and lifestyles. Emphasize the 
everyday rather than the exotic. For example, pictures of a 
family celebrating Dhwali in a Canadian context or a picture 
of a mosque with a city skyline in the background could be 
displayed. 

Welcome signs could be translated into many languages, by 
the students themselves or by their parents/guardians, and put 
up around the classroom, inside the entrance to the school and 
in the main office. 

Bilingual, as well as first language books and dictionaries 
could be placed in a classroom library as could books written 
by a wide variety of authors from various cultures. 

Charts showing family trees with countries of origin could be 
constructed and put on display. 

Lists of English names with corresponding names in other 
languages could be prepared and mounted on the wall. 



December 1996 



ESL Guide (Elementary) / 77 



• Once the children feel safe and comfortable at school, they 
should be encouraged to bring artifacts from their home 
cultures to show their teachers and classmates. If the 
parents/guardians are willing, figurines, dolls, crafts, items of 
clothing or other treasures from home could be displayed 
around the room — provided, of course, that they could be 
adequately protected against theft or damage. 

• Organize classroom seating arrangements to maximize student 
opportunities to participate in cooperative learning activities. 

Becoming a culturally sensitive teacher and creating a supportive 
learning environment are the first steps to incorporating 
multiculturalism in everyday teaching practices. Instilling respect 
for other cultures is something that cannot be done in a week; 
rather, it is a set of beliefs and practices that pervades everything 
from policy, philosophy, action plans and hiring practices to 
curriculum content and classroom practice. 

In our classrooms, we can enhance understanding of diverse 
cultures by helping to create culturally thoughtful students. We 
begin this process by focusing on developing and reinforcing 
self-esteem and a positive self-concept in all children. 

The following objectives for students can be integrated across the 
curriculum. Ideally, students should be able to: 

• display self-esteem: 

- by being aware of the characteristics of their, own 
individual cultures 

• extend this right to self-esteem to others: 

- by comparing their individual cultures to those of others 

• identify different cultural groups in their community and in 
Canada and describe the similarities and differences among 
these groups: 

- by learning that different is not synonymous with deficient 

• discuss stereotyped thinking and how it leads to prejudice: 

- by applying critical skills to solve such problems in the 
school and community, and by considering how this 
process might extend to solving worldwide conflicts of 
interest. 



78 / ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



Achieving the above objectives will require carefully planned 
teaching experiences and a classroom in which children have a 
sense of place, work together in a cooperative learning 
environment and are actively engaged in learning from a culturally 
inclusive curriculum. Such a curriculum requires that the 
literature and content taught will reflect a variety of world views 
from a variety of perspectives, including gender, race and religion. 

For example, music and musical instruments from a variety of 
traditions should be incorporated into a music curriculum, games 
from various cultures should be part of physical education, and art 
should reflect a variety of styles from around the world. Literature 
should encompass a variety of international writers, as well as 
writers of various Canadian traditions who introduce culturally 
diverse characters and viewpoints. 

Children will be continually involved in discussion groups, 
projects, group investigations, games, role playing and peer 
conferences. Carefully structured cooperative learning 

opportunities need to be provided, so that students use their 
previous cultural and conceptual experiences in their learning. 

The ESL student's first language should be valued in the 
classroom in order to help the student maintain high self-esteem. 
Therefore, encouraging students to share their languages with 
Canadian-born peers is very important. They can demonstrate 
their writing systems, teach calligraphy and read from first 
language literature books. Also, teachers and students can share 
stories and readers' theatre from different cultures. 

Continued maintenance of the first language is crucial, for 
children who have a strong cognitive base in their own language 
can more easily transfer concepts to the new one. Furthermore, 
community resources that reflect students' experiences should be 
used and community participation in either the first or second 
language encouraged. ESL students should be seen as 
contributors both inside and outside the classroom. 



December 1996 ESL Guide (Elementary) / 79 



80 / ESL Guide (Elementary) December 1996 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



Annotated Bibliography of Learning Resources: Early Childhood 
Services-Grade 12. Edmonton, AB: Alberta Education, 1993. 

Barona, A. "Assessment of Multicultural Preschool Children," in Bruce 
A. Bracken (ed.), The Psychoeducational Assessment of Preschool 
Children. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon Inc., 1991, pp. 379-91. 

Bellanca, James. The Cooperative Think Tank I: Graphic Organizers to 
Teach Thinking in the Cooperative Classroom. Illinois: Skylight 
Publishing, 1990. 

. The Cooperative Think Tank II: Graphic Organizers to 

Teach Thinking in the Cooperative Classroom. Illinois: Skylight 
Publishing, 1992. 

Black, Howard and Sandra Black. Organizing Thinking. Book II: 
Graphic Organizers. Pacific Grove, CA: Midwest Publications, 
1990. 

Cantoni-Harvey, G. Content-area Language Instruction: Approaches 
and Strategies. Addison-Wesley Publishers, 1987. 

Cech, Maureen. The Globalchild: Multicultural Resources for Young 
Children. Ottawa, ON: [s.n.], 1990. 

Chamot, A. U. and J. M. O'Malley. "The Cognitive Academic Language 
Learning Approach: A Bridge to the Mainstream," TESOL 
Quarterly, Vol. 21 No. 2, 1987, pp. 229-49. 

Chud, Gyda and Ruth Fahlman. "Early Childhood Education for a 
Multicultural Society," WEDGE. Vancouver, BC: University of 
British Columbia Press, 1985. 

Claire, E. ESL Teacher's Activities Kit. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 
1988. 

This spiral-bound book contains over 160 activities and games that 
can be used easily by paraprofessionals. 

Collier, V. P. "Age and Rate of Acquisition of a Second Language for 
Academic Purposes," TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 21 No. 4, 1987, 
pp. 617-41. 

Crandall, Jo Ann (ed.). ESL Through Content-Area Instruction: 
Mathematics, Science, Social Studies. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: 
Prentice-Hall, 1987. 



December 1996 Bibliography / 81 



Cummins, Jim. Empowering Minority Students. Sacremento, CA: 
California Association for Bilingual Education, 1989. 

Diagnostic Reading Program, [five components] Edmonton, AB: 
Alberta Education, 1986-1993. 

Early, M. "Using Key Visuals to Aid ESL Students' Comprehension of 
Content Classroom Texts," Reading-Canada-Lecture, Vol. 7 No. 4, 
1989. 

Early, M., C. Thew and P. Wakefield. Integrating Language and Content 
Instruction K-12: An E.S.L. Resource Book, Vol. 1. Victoria, BC: 
Ministry of Education, Modem Languages Services Branch, 1986. 

English as a Second Language (ESL) in Alberta Schools: A Parent 
Handbook. Edmonton, AB: Alberta Education, 1993. 
This is a booklet for parents new to Alberta whose children are 
learning English as a second language. It provides basic information 
about the organization of the Alberta school system, how to 
communicate with the child's school, the kinds of ESL support 
available, and how to help the child be more successful in school. 

Enright, D. S. and M. L. McCloskey. Integrating English: Developing 
English Language and Literacy in the Multilingual Classroom. 
Addison- Wesley Publishing, 1988. 

Hall, Edward T. "Unstated Features of the Cultural Content of 
Learning," The Education Forum, Vol. 54 No. 1, Fall, 1989. 

Hanning, Denise. One Child, Two Cultures: A Manual for Facilitating 
the Integration of Newcomer Children in Educational Settings. 
Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Employment Services and Economic 
Security, Immigration and Settlement Services Branch, 1987. 

Heald-Taylor, Gail. Whole Language Strategies for ESL Students. OISE 
Press, 1986. 

Helmer, S. Integrating Language and Content: A Planning Guide for 
Teachers. Vancouver, BC: Vancouver School Board Program 
Services, 1992. 

Herrmann, Beth A. (ed.). The Volunteer Tutor's Toolbox. Delaware: 
International Reading Association, 1994. 

This book provides paraprofessionals and volunteers with hands-on 
tools to use tutoring time most effectively. 

Holt, Daniel D. (ed.). Cooperative Learning: A Response to Linguistic 
and Cultural Diversity. Centre for Applied Linguistics and Delta 
Systems, 1993. 



82 I Bibliography December 1996 



Houston, M. W. "First Things First: Why Early Childhood Educators 
Must Support Home Language While Promoting Second Language 
Development," Multiculturalism, Vol. 14 No. 2/3, 1992, pp. 47-50. 

Hudelson, Sarah. "Kan Yu Ret an Rayt en Ingles: Children Become 
Literate in English as a Second Language, " TESOL Quarterly, 
Vol. 18 No. 2, 1984, pp. 221-38. 

. Write On: Children Writing in ESL. Prentice-Hall 



Publishers, 1989. 

Keel, Pat. Assessment in the Multi-ethnic Primary Classroom. 
Stoke-on-Trent, U.K.: Trentham Books, 1994. 

Lambert, W. and D. Taylor. "Language in the Education of Ethnic 
Minority Children in Canada," in R. Samuda, J. Berry and 
M. Laferriere (eds.), Multiculturalism in Canada: Social and 
Educational Perspectives. Toronto, ON: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 
1984, pp. 201-15. 

Language Development Across the Curriculum ESL JOB. Edmonton, 
AB: Alberta Education, 1986. 

Law, Barbara and Mary Eckes. Assessment and ESL: On the Yellow Big 
Road to the Withered of Oz. Winnipeg, MB: Peguis Publishers, 
1995. 

. The-More-Than- Just-Surviving Handbook: ESL for 

Every Classroom Teacher. Winnipeg, MB: Peguis Publishing 
Limited, 1990. 

Lund, Randall J. "A Taxonomy for Teaching Second Language 
Listening," Foreign Language Annals, Vol. 23 No. 2, 1990, 
pp. 105-15. 

Meyers, M. Teaching to Diversity: Teaching and Learning in the 
Multi-ethnic Classroom. Ontario: Irwin Publishing, 1993. 

Mohan, B. A. Language and Content. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 
1986. 

Parents As Partners. Calgary, AB: Calgary Board of Education, 1993. 
This video series has been translated into English, Arabic, Cantonese, 
Khmer, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese. 

Reid, J. M. "The Learning Style Preferences of ESL Students," TESOL 
Quarterly, Vol. 21 No. 1, 1987, pp. 87-1 11. 

Rigg, P. and D. S. Enright (eds.). Children and ESL: Integrating 
Perspectives. TESOL Publications, 1986. 

December 1996 Bibliography / 83 



"Samples of Students' Writing," from the Grade 3 English Language Arts 
Achievement Test. Edmonton, AB: Alberta Education, June 1990. 

"Samples of Students' Writing," from the Grade 6 English Language Arts 
Achievement Test. Edmonton, AB: Alberta Education, 1988. 

The two entries above provide in-depth analyses of writing in terms 
of quality ratings ranging from 'poor' to 'excellent' in which writing 
samples were assessed for content, development, sentence structure, 
vocabulary and conventions. The documents were developed by the 
Student Evaluation Branch and contain scoring guides for looking at 
all aspects of a child's writing development. 

Samuda, R. J. and S. L. Kong et al. Assessment and Placement of 
Minority Students. Toronto, ON: C. J. Hogrefe, Intercultural Social 
Sciences Publications, 1989. 

Searfoss, Lyndon W. et al. "An Integrated Language Strategy for Second 
Language Learners," TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 15 No. 4, December 
1981, pp. 283-89. 

Serving Diverse Needs: A Selected Bibliography ofESL and Multicultural 
Resources. Calgary, AB: Calgary Board of Education, 1996. 

Sharing Success, 1994, is a video series designed to help classroom 
teachers and paraprofessionals to better understand and plan for the 
ESL student in both elementary and secondary classrooms. The series 
includes three programs. 

BPN 3450-01 Program 1: Understanding English as a Second 

Language 
BPN 3450-02 Program 2: ESL Teaching Strategies for Elementary 

Students 
BPN 3450-03 Program 3: ESL Teaching Strategies for Secondary 

Students 

It is recommended that these videos be used in conjunction with the 
Sharing Success Viewer's Guide. ISBN 1-895350-57-3. 

Copies of the Sharing Success programs are available, at cost plus 
handling and postage, to Alberta schools, post-secondary institutions, 
and other education councils; from: 

ACCESS: The Education Station, Media Resource Centre 

3720 - 76 Avenue 

Edmonton, Alberta 

Telephone: 403-440-7729, Fax: 403^40-8899. 



84 I Bibliography December 1996 



Sims, Jane E. (ed.). Education Systems of Immigrant Students. North 
York, ON: North York Board of Education, 1990. 

Smallwood, B. A. The Literature Connection: A Read-Aloud Guide for 
Multicultural Classrooms. Addison-Wesley, 1991. 

Soto, Lourdes Diaz. "Understanding Bilingual/Bicultural Young 
Children," Young Children, Vol. 46 No. 2, January 1991, pp. 30-36. 

Spangenberg-Urbschat, K. and R. Pritchard (eds.). Kids Come in All 
Languages: Reading Instruction for ESL Students. Newark, DE: 
International Reading Association, 1994. 

Thomas, Ves. The Canadian Spelling Program II. Toronto, ON: Gage 
Educational Publishing, 1987. 

Tiedt, P. and I. Tiedt. Multicultural Teaching: A Handbook of Activities, 
Information and Resources. Third edition. Boston, MA: Allyn and 
Bacon, Inc., 1990. 

Urzua, Carole. "A Children's Story," in P. Rigg and S. Enright (eds.), 
Children and ESL: Integrating Perspectives. TESOL Publications, 
1986, pp. 95-1 12. 

Vacca, R. and J. Vacca. Content Area Reading. Boston, MA: Little, 
Brown and Co., 1986. 

Valencia, S. W. and A. H. Hiebert et al. (eds.). Authentic Reading 
Assessment: Practices and Possibilities. Newark, DE: International 
Reading Association, 1994. 

Waxier-Morrison, N. et al. (eds.). Cross-Cultural Caring: A Handbook 
for Health Professionals in Western Canada. Vancouver, BC: 
University of British Columbia Press, 1990. 

Wenden, A. and J. Rubin (eds.). Learner Strategies in Language 
Learning. Prentice-Hall International, 1987. 

West, Betsy E. "The New Arrivals from Southeast Asia," Childhood 
Education, Vol. 60 No. 2, November/December 1983, pp. 84-89. 

Wong Fillmore, L. "Teaching English through Content: Instructional 
Reform in Programs for Language Minority Students," Multicultural 
Education and Policy: ESL in the 1990s. The Ontario Institute for 
Studies in Education Press, 1989, pp. 125-43. 

Zintz, Miles V. The Reading Process: The Teacher and the Learner. 
Third edition. Dubuque, IA: W. C. Brown Co. Publishers, 1980. 



December 1996 Bibliography / 85 



86 " 

December 1996 



APPENDIX 
ORGANIZATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS 



ALBERTA IMMIGRANT AID ORGANIZATIONS 

Calgary 

• Calgary Catholic Immigration Society 

• Calgary Immigrant Aid Society 

• Calgary Immigrant Women's Association 

• Calgary Mennonite Centre for Newcomers 

Edmonton 

• Canadian International Immigrant and Refugee Support Association 

• Catholic Social Services Immigration and Settlement Services 

• Changing Together — A Centre for Immigrant Women 

• Edmonton Immigrant Services Association 

• Edmonton Mennonite Centre for the Assistance of Newcomers 

Grande Prairie 

• Peace Area Settlement Services Society for Immigrants 

Lethbridge 

• Lethbridge Immigrant Settlement Association 

Medicine Hat 

• Saamis Immigration Services Association 

Red Deer 

• Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE) Committee 

• Catholic Social Services Immigration & Settlement 



December 1996 Appendix: Organizations and Associations 1 87 



PROVINCIAL AND NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTIONS AND 
CONFERENCES 

Alberta Association for Multicultural Education (AAME) 

Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language 

Alberta Association of Immigrant Service Agencies (AAISA) 

Association of B.C. Teachers of English As an Additional Language (B.C. TEAL) 
B.C. Teachers' Federation 

Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers 

Canadian Council for Multicultural and Intercultural Education 

Council for Second Language Programs in Canada 

English as a Second Language Council 
Alberta Teachers' Association 

English Language Arts Council 
Alberta Teachers' Association 

Movement for Canadian Literacy 

Multicultural Education Council 
Alberta Teachers' Association 

Teachers of English as a Second Language (TESL) Canada Federation 

The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) 

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTIONS AND CONFERENCES 

AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc. 

American Forum for Global Education 

Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) 

Computer Assisted Language Learning and Instruction Consortium (CALICO) 

Council on International Education Exchange 

ERIC Clearinghouse on Language and Linguistics (ERIC/CLL) 

ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS) 

Institute of International Education 

International Reading Association 

National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education (NCBE) 

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) 

88 1 Appendix: Organizations and Associations December 1996 



OTHER HELPFUL ORGANIZATIONS AND AGENCIES 

Teachers can contact their local agencies and organizations for more sources of information regarding the 
education and well-being of their students. 

Local Boards of Education 

School Board Consultants 

College and University Departments of Continuing Education 

Y.W.C.A. 

Y.M.CA. 

Local City Police 

Local Health Services 

Canadian Mental Health Association 

City Parks and Recreation Departments 

Legal Aid Society of Alberta 

Public Libraries 

Alberta Government 

- Advanced Education and Career Development 

- Department of Labour 

- Department of Culture and Multiculturalism 

- Alberta Education 

- Department of Family and Social Services 

- Department of Health 



December 1996 Appendix: Organizations and Associations 1 89 



PROFESSIONAL JOURNALS AND NEWSLETTERS 

Alberta English 

ATESL Newsletter 

B.C. Teal Newsletter 

Canadian Modern Language Review 

Cross Currents 

Dialogue 

English Language Teaching Journal 

Forum 

Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 

Language and Society 

Language Arts Journals 

Language Teaching 

Multicultural Education Journal 

Multiculturalism 

Projection [Formerly Kaleidoscope Canada] 

Reading Teacher 

Reflections on Canadian Literacy (RCL) 

TESL Canada Journal 

TESOL Journal, Newsletter and Quarterly 



90 1 Appendix: Organizations and Associations December 1996 



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